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News and resources regarding COVID-19

NEWS 4.19.21: Vaccination Updates, Chase Investigation, Cedar Rapids Police Settlement, and More

Siouxland District Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported no new deaths due to complications of COVID-19 and about 170 new cases, with two more in Woodbury County. The 14-day test positivity rate in Woodbury County is 6.1%

Credit Siouxland District Health

Siouxland District Health announced plans for the next large-scale vaccination clinic on April 27th at the Siouxland Expo Center. The clinic’s hours from 4:15 until 6:30 p.m. are geared toward people who need appointments outside regular business hours. The appointments are open now and available for anyone 16 years for their first dose.

There are 800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine available. People can schedule online through Siouxland District Health or by calling (712) 234-3922.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit our website at http://www.siouxlanddistricthealth.org/, or the state of Iowa’s vaccine website at https://vaccinate.iowa.gov.

South Dakota is one of the top states in the nation for the percentage of people who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Now health officials are turning their focus toward those who are hesitant to get the shots. A map published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows rural states like South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming have some of the highest concentrations of vaccine hesitancy in the country. A survey done with residents in central South Dakota shows about 30% had reservations about getting vaccinated.

Nebraska administered nearly 135,000 doses of coronavirus vaccines last week as the state continued to ramp up distribution of the shots. State health officials said 134,829 doses of the vaccines were administered last week, including one day when more than 40,000 shots were given. That is up from roughly 116,000 doses the week before. The state said Monday that 36.3% of the state’s population has now been fully vaccinated. The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska decreased over the past two weeks, going from 484 new cases per day on April 3 to 323.71 new cases per day on Saturday.

News outlets that want to attend Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts’ press conferences will have to answer detailed questions about their business model and submit a notarized letter from a manager before they’ll be given access to ask questions under a new policy. The governor's office announced the policy after a reporter from an Omaha-based online news outlet said the governor’s office ignored her emailed questions and eventually shut her out of a March 31 news conference that she tried to attend in person. The incident prompted Nebraska’s two largest newspapers, the Omaha World-Herald and Lincoln Journal Star, to publish a joint editorial criticizing the decision as an affront to free-press rights and a political move by the conservative, Republican governor.

The search continues for a suspect after an early morning chase in Woodbury County. Another suspect is behind bars. Sheriff Chad Sheehan told local reporters the incident started after a police officer in South Sioux City was hit by the vehicle. The chase ended up on Old Highway 141. Sheehan says the search is concentrated in the communities of Hornick and Holly Springs.  

Credit South Sioux City Police Department
Image of pursuit suspect

An insurance company for the City of Cedar Rapids will pay $8 million to a Black motorist who was paralyzed after a white police officer shot him during a traffic stop in 2016.

The payout will settle a long-running lawsuit brought by Jerime Mitchell over a shooting that had exposed tensions between Black residents and authorities in Iowa’s second-largest city.

Cedar Rapids had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees defending against the lawsuit and arguing that Officer Lucas Jones acted lawfully in shooting Mitchell in 2016.

The resolution avoids a trial scheduled to begin Tuesday, as the nation awaits a verdict in the trial of a Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd.

Credit Associated Press
FILE - In this June 6, 2020 file photo, Jerime Mitchell speaks to the crowd as his wife Bracken holds the microphone during a protest against police brutality at Greene Square in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. An insurance company for the City of Cedar Rapids will pay $8 million to Mitchell, who was paralyzed after police officer Lucas Jones shot him during a 2016 traffic stop.

In a statement, Mitchell says his lawyers proved Jones was an “untruthful” police officer. Mitchell’s attorney, Larry Rogers Junior, says the settlement will help provide for future health care needs. But he says the most significant result of the lawsuit was getting the officer fired. 

Jones was fired last summer after internal investigators determined he lied about turning off his audio recording equipment and violated department policies during a different traffic stop.

The first-ever Black and Brown Business Summit is being held by the West Des Moines Chamber this week.

The event will highlight minority-owned small businesses in the state and offer networking opportunities for those businesses to continue to grow. George Herrera is the former CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He will speak at the event.

“We need to be proactive, and we don't need to have unfortunate incidents take place, for our community, to them be a topic of conversation, we should always be a topic of conversation because we're part of the economic fabric of every community of every city in this country.”

The organizers hope to make this an annual event for business owners across the state.

Farm equipment sales in the US continued to grow last month, and for the first quarter of the year. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers reports tractor sales rose 81 per cent in March, over the same month last year, while combine sales went up 6.7 per cent.
For the first three months of the year, sales are up 52 per cent for farm tractors and 16.5 per cent for combines.

The Association says tractors sales have now gone up for 11 months in a row, with the biggest year over year gain in smaller machines - sales jumped 96 per cent for tractors with less than 40 horsepower, and 58 per cent for 40 to 100 horsepower tractors.

Officials are optimistic sales will increase or remain stable in the near future.

Iowa Congressional member Ashley Hinson co-sponsored legislation to change the federal Paycheck Protection Program to include some farmers and small business owners. The loans would be retroactively available. A third-round was approved by Congress late last year.

Hinson, a Republican from Marion, tells Radio Iowa a technicality prevented some from receiving their full PPP forgivable loans.

And one of Sioux City’s largest music venues announced plans to resume live entertainment.

Anthem at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino scheduled three shows for June and one in July; including David Allan Coe and Everclear.

COVID-19 safety steps will be in place with attendees will be encouraged to wear masks. They will not be mandated.

News release from Hard Rock Hotel and Casino:

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino announced Monday that live entertainment will return to Anthem. 

Among the first to return are The Pro Tornadoes (June 4); David Allan Coe (June 5); Everclear (June 11); and Mark Chestnutt (July 15).

Tickets for these shows will go on  sale Friday and may be purchased at hardrockcasinosiouxcity.com or in person at the Hotel Rock Shop. If a ticket was previously purchased for a rescheduled event, no further action is needed. All other postponed shows will be announced in a phased approach as the artists begin to reschedule their tours.

All events at Anthem are for audiences, 21 and older.

Hard Rock is taking all possible steps to ensure their employees, artists and guests are safe and sounds. Attendees are encouraged to wear face masks, wash their hands, respect boundaries and stay home if sick.

Hard Rock will have thermal imaging, sanitation stations for attendees and staff. In addition, team members will be wearing masks as part of their uniforms.

For more information on Hard Rock's SAFE + SOUND protocols, visit hardrockhotelcasinosiouxcity.com/covid-19-updates.