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Midwest and Plains States Show Economic Growth

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A new monthly survey shows continued economic improvement in nine Midwest and Plains states, but business leaders indicated the coronavirus pandemic is still hurting business. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey. He estimated a rosier economic outlook in the coming months, citing an increase in the survey's confidence index. The overall index for the region in January suggests improved growth, coming in at a strong 67.3 from December's 64.1. Any score above 50 on the survey's indexes suggests growth, while a score below 50 suggests recession. 

Today, The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting another five COVID-19 deaths and an additional 298 confirmed cases. The state was reporting a total 4,906 COVID-19-related deaths, an increase of five deaths since yesterday, according to the state's website.

On Sunday, the state reported 250 COVID-related deaths, which was by far thA spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Public Health, said the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reads death certificates to see whether a doctor determined COVID-19 contributed to each death. That review process can take several weeks or even months, which is why some of Iowa's COVID-19 deaths recorded Sunday dated as far back as October.

Woodbury County added another 15 deaths attributed to COVID-19 this weekend, while most other counties in the region also added several deaths in recent days.  According to Iowa Department of Public Health data, Woodbury County's death toll jumped to 197 as of Sunday, up from 182 on Friday.
The only counties in the region that have not reported any virus deaths in recent days are Ida and O'Brien. Collectively, the death toll across 14 Northwest Iowa counties stands at 652 as of Sunday. 

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