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Masks No Longer Required in Some Sioux City Buildings; India COVID-19 Variant Found in Nebraska

News 05.14.21 Noon

The city of Sioux City says following the latest guidance shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, masks and protective face coverings are no longer required in City buildings if you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Masks are still required in Sioux Gateway Airport, City Transit buses and the Martin Luther King Ground Transportation Center. Masks are still encouraged in City facilities when social distancing isn’t possible.

Individual businesses may have separate requirements and it is important to follow recommended guidelines and respect other people. Currently, 33% of residents are considered to be fully vaccinated in Woodbury County. Information about COVID-19 vaccinations or to schedule an appointment to receive a vaccine can be found by contacting the Siouxland District Health Department at 279-6119 or www.siouxlanddistricthealth.org.

Officials say parishioners in the diocese should plan to continue to follow the current Mass protocols for this weekend's Masses.  That protocol calls for masks to be worn during Masses, and social distancing within pews required for non-cohabiting attendees.  The current Mass protocols went into effect during Palm Sunday in late March.  Officials say Bishop R. Walker Nickless, the COVID-19 Task Force, and the Office of Worship will review the new CDC guidelines as soon as possible.

A variant of COVID-19 that originated in India has reached Nebraska. Health officials have confirmed a case of the B.1.617 variant in Lancaster County. The case was linked to international travelers. B.1.617 appears more contagious than other COVID strains and some studies have shown that higher levels of antibodies are required to neutralize it. Still, health officials expect vaccinations to remain effective, officials said.

Nebraska’s chief medical officer, said the emergence of new variants is another reason to get vaccinated. The health department recommends that overseas travelers seek COVID testing within three to five days of returning to the state. Nebraskans can register for vaccination at Vaccinate.Ne.Gov.

The Woodbury County Law Enforcement Center Authority on Thursday accepted a bid of nearly $14.8 million prefabricated metal cells for the county's new jail, according to the Sioux City Journal. Noblesville, Indiana-based Pauly Jail Building Company, Inc. submitted the sole bid of $14.789 million. The cells will come with all fixtures and furnishings, including bunks, toilets and more already built in.  The prefabricated cells are expected to be delivered in 40 weeks, or sometime in February. The price of the cells would originally have been estimated at around $13.6 million, but that a disruption in supply chains due to the pandemic sent prices for materials skyrocketing. County officials said earlier this year that the materials price-hike would drive the final cost of the project several million dollars higher than the $50.3 million that authorized by county voters in March 2020.

The deadline to file your federal income taxes is Monday, May 17.  Federal and state officials pushed back the filing deadlines for income taxes to give filers, preparers and government employees more time to adjust to new rules responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. But importantly, those delays don't apply to every tax filer, so taxpayers need to stay up on the specific details of the new rules.