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Vilsack Tapped for Ag Secretary; Siouxland Hospitals Ask Business Community to Require Masks

MercyOne Sioux City

Today, President-elect Joe Biden has tapped former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack for a second stint as the U.S. Agriculture secretary. Vilsack served eight years as Agriculture secretary under President Barack Obama. Vilsack has been a longtime supporter of Biden and he campaigning for the former vice president on farm and rural issues in the 2020 presidential campaign.

Former Iowa Governor and Ag Department Secretary Tom Vilsack (D)

The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting an additional 99 COVID-19 deaths and an additional 2,246 confirmed cases. Some of the deaths are from earlier in the pandemic as the state's numbers undergo methodology changes. Also, COVID-19 deaths can take up to a week to be reported on the state's Coronavirus.Iowa.gov website. Siouxland District health says today there have been 103 cases added to the total case count in the last 24 hours. Woodbury County is still experiencing significant community spread of COVID-19

MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center and UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s are reaching out to the business community to ask for their help in combatting COVID-19. The hospitals say they have experienced the highest number of COVID-19 patients since the beginning of the pandemic. The hospitals are asking business owners to require employees and customers to wear a mask to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in our community.

And UnityPoint plans to raise the minimum hourly wage of its workers to $15 an hour.
The pay increase goes into effect in January. The employees most likely to see their pay go up as a result of this change are those who work in housekeeping, food service, nursing assistance and other clinical support roles, central supply and patient access associates, among others.
The trial of Cristhian Bahena Rivera has been delayed to next spring because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bahena Rivera is accused of killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbets in the summer of 2018
The trial was set to begin January 25th at the Scott County Courthouse in Davenport but has now been pushed back to May 17th.

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