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UnityPoint Health Will Require All Staff to Be Vaccinated for COVID-19 by Nov.1

UnityPoint Health announced today it will require its more than 33,000 team members to be vaccinated against COVID-19.The three-state health system also continues to urge all eligible individuals to get their COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. MercyOne Medical Center announced that all staff would need to be vaccinated in early July.

UnityPoint will require all employed team members, regardless of whether they provide direct patient care or not, to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1, 2021. Team members who choose not to become vaccinated will be subject to voluntary resignation or termination. Team members can request an exemption for medical or religious reasons, which is consistent with the health system’s practice for other required vaccines. 

The pace of vaccinations appears to be trending up slightly in Iowa as the number of patients hospitalized in Iowa with Covid grows. Governor Kim Reynolds says the vaccination rate is at 62% for Iowans and 66% for the same group that has had at least had one single dose. In the past 40 days, the number of Covid patients in Iowa hospitals has grown from 46 to more than 200 — a 77% increase. 

The Iowa Department of Public Health’s weekly report shows the state averaged about 500 new cases of Covid in each of the past seven days. 

South Dakota health officials report coronavirus cases jumped by 68% last week as more cases of the delta variant of the coronavirus were identified. The Department of Health reported 429 new cases statewide in its weekly virus report, bringing the number of active cases statewide to 657.

Crowds of bikers are rumbling their way towards western South Dakota, raising fears that COVID-19 infections will be unleashed among the 700,000 people expected to show up at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The rally starts tomorrow. It's become a haven for those eager to escape coronavirus precautions. 

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