Mary Hartnett

Announcer/News Director

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Iowa today reported its highest single-day increase in COVID-19 deaths, topping the mark set one week ago.
Today the Iowa of Department of Public Health reported another 47 additional deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. In total, 2,271 people with COVID-19 have died in Iowa, according to the state's website.

There have been 49 cases added to the total case count in the last 24 hours. Woodbury County continues to experience significant community spread of COVID-19. The county now has reached more than 10 thousand cases of the coronavirus and 96 deaths, according to Siouxland District Health.

Since the pandemic arrived in early March, more than 218 thousand people have tested positive for the coronavirus. Another 3,365 coronavirus cases have been reported since yesterday.
The increases come as Iowa hospitals struggle with the coronavirus surge.
The chairperson of the Iowa Hospital Association warned yesterday that the Iowa hospital region that includes the state's most populous area has at times in the last week been down to two or three intensive care unit beds as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lack of beds and staffing shortages have forced some Iowa hospitals to transfer patients to other facilities, Kirk Morris, the president of the association, said at a news conference.

The coronavirus continues to spread in Iowa.  More than 500 people with COVID-19 have died in the state so far this month and 2,224 overall, according to the state department of health.  There have been 82 cases added in the last 24 hours in Siouxland and one additional death of an elderly female. More than 4,500 residents of long term care centers are infected with the virus and 143 nursing homes reported coronavirus outbreaks today.

Iowa has surpassed 200,000 coronavirus cases today, with 4,359 confirmed additional cases. Another 25 people with COVID-19 have died, according to the state coronavirus website,

In Woodbury county, there have been 127 cases added in the last 24 hours. 
Siouxland District Health reports that there has been one additional death of an older adult female (61-80).

This week on The Exchange, we hear the story of Ponca tribe chief Standing Bear. Siouxland Public Media and Small Wonders' Jim Schaap has been telling Standing Bear's story in a four-part series. We will hear that series today.

Governor Kim Reynolds will give a live address to Iowans about COVID-19 at 6:05 tonight.

A news release says Reynolds will announce new steps to fight the virus and talk about Iowans' need to practice virus mitigation efforts.

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The Sioux City Community School District this week has 11 reports of positive COVID-19 cases from students that attended school, and 21 reports of positive COVID-19 cases from staff that attended school.  The district moved several classrooms and one entire middle school to virtual learning this wee.  East Middle School and Sunnyside Elementary each had one classroom go virtual, Morningside STEM Elementary had two classrooms closed down, and West Middle School will hold only virtual classes through November 25, the day before Thanksgiving. 

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In Nebraska, Gov. Pete Ricketts today outlined new and tighter health restrictions that he plans to impose if COVID-19 patients fill 25% or more of hospital beds. 

If the number of patients hits that mark, he would limit indoor gatherings to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 25 people. He would close bars except for delivery and take-out, hold wedding and funeral receptions to the 10-person limit and postpone any elective surgery that can be delayed. 

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 The coronavirus continues to spread broadly across Iowa. 

The Exchange this week commemorates Veterans Day.

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Iowa Department of Public Health Spokesperson Amy McCoy resigned today.

McCoy was a legislative liaison for the department who started handling COVID-19 related media requests at the start of the pandemic. 

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Large numbers of coronavirus cases have been trending for the last week in Iowa.  In Woodbury County, since yesterday, there have been 121 new cases and no further deaths.  There have been 8154 cases in Woodbury County and 102 deaths since the pandemic began.  The county has a 14-day positivity rate of 20.9 percent.  Iowa public health officials reported 3,533 new confirmed cases Friday and 14 more deaths. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals reached a new high of 912. Yesterday there were more than 45 hundred new cases and 20 further deaths, according to the Iowa coronavirus website.   On the same day, Gov. Kim Reynolds launched a media campaign to encourage people to take action to reduce the state's surging number of coronavirus infections. The governor did not impose any mandates or enforce new rules. 

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It is election day, and Iowa voters are expected to cast ballots in record numbers. Nearly a million people have cast absentee ballots.


Concerns about the coronavirus contributed to the surge in early voting. 64% of active Democratic voters and 42% of Republicans requested absentee ballots. 

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It is finally Election Day, and the polls are open across the country. Iowans have already cast roughly a million early ballots. Polls opened at about 1,200 polling places at 7 a.m. today, and voting will continue until 9 p.m. The Secretary of State's Office reports just over 2 million Iowa residents are registered to vote, and about half of them already cast an absentee ballot. 

Today we have an update from the Reblitz family in Moville. Their two school-age children attend Woodbury Central Schools.  Their father Donny Reblitz is on the school Board.  Their mother Stacey teaches at the elementary school.  Today we learn that their son Jackson tested positive for COVID-19 and had some serious symptoms.

For several weeks into the school year, the family had not been affected by the coronavirus, but recently, their son Jackson became ill and tested positive for the virus.

Today on The Exchange, we talk with incumbent Republican US Senator Joni Ernst and her challenger Democrat Theresa Greenfield.  In two separate interviews, the candidates talk about their priorities and differences in the lead up to the November 3rd election next Tuesday. 

 Yesterday was the first day with more than 70,000 new US Covid-19 cases in three months in the United States, and the hospitalization rate is soaring, new data reveal. Thursday was also the highest day for new infections since July 24 and the day with the fourth-highest total ever, at 71,671, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Thirty-two states reported rising Covid-19 infections. 

The number of Iowa residents dying from the coronavirus is quickly rising again after weeks of increasing hospitalizations and outbreaks at nursing homes. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 31 new deaths from the virus Wednesday, the most confirmed in a 24-hour period since the beginning of the pandemic. That does not mean that 31 people died in one day. The increase results from the fact that the state received 31 new reports of confirmed COVID—19 deaths through medical examiners and death certificates. Many of the deaths happened a few or several days ago.

102120 304Coronavirus cases continue to grow in Iowa.  Iowa reported record high COVID-19 deaths today,  with 31 people dying of the novel coronavirus along with an additional 1,276 confirmed cases. The state's death toll to 1,579.  The state also reported 534 people hospitalized, topping Tuesday's high of 501.According to the state's coronavirus website, there were 646 new, confirmed cases of the coronavirus this morning. 

This week on The Exchange, we have a taped forum with the 4th District Congressional candidates.  They are Republican Randy Feenstra of Hull and Democrat JD Scholten of Sioux City. Siouxland Public Media's Mary Hartnett is the moderator.  First, the candidates introduce themselves.

Below is a link to the Zoom forum:

On Wednesday, Octobert 7th, Siouxland Public Media held a forum with the candidates for three seats on the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors in the November 3 general election.

A suburban Des Moines educator has died from complications of COVID-19, but it's unclear if she contracted the virus at school or elsewhere. 

The principal of Indian Hills Junior High School says special education assistant Jennifer Crawford, died Monday. The school is in West Des Moines. Iowa has the fourth-highest coronavirus positivity rate in the nation.

Only 10 of Iowa's 99 counties are below the 5% threshold at which public health experts recommend measures to slow the spread of the virus, including mandatory masks and limits on gatherings.

Republican groups are asking the Iowa Supreme Court today to stay a judge's ruling blocking the enforcement of a state order. That order has been used to invalidate tens of thousands of absentee ballot requests.

The Republican National Committee, President Trump's campaign, and other GOP groups said that Iowa's election administration could be thrown into "chaos" if the ruling stands.

This week on The Exchange, COVID 19 cases continue to rise in Siouxland, and some school board members ask for a return to hybrid learning.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds today announced some changes in quarantine recommendations for people that have been exposed to positive cases of COVID-19. 

At her morning news conference today, Reynolds said, from now on, close contacts of COVID-positive cases would no longer need to quarantine for 14 days, if a face covering was worn consistently and correctly by the positive case and close contacts. Reynolds said school districts had expressed frustration with the quarantine recommendations. 


Another family taking part in the Going Viral series is the Marquez family.  They live in Sioux City. Daisy Marquez is the mother of four children.  Two of them, girls, are learning virtually while spending time Girls, Inc.    

Daisy says the Girls, Inc. program has made it easy for her girls to learn distantly.

This week on The Exchange, what citizens may have to do to move the US to a universal health care system.  Nearly every other wealthy, developed country in the world has already done so.   Rosemarie Day is the author of new book on the subject.  She helped run the Massachusetts version of the Affordable Care Act.  


Six more Sioux City School District classrooms are being moved from in-person to online learning.

That announced comes just ten days after the first shift to classroom learning due to reported positive cases of the Coronavirus.  This afternoon district spokeswoman Mandie Mayo said the impacted classrooms were in five elementary schools, which are widely spread throughout Sioux City.

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Two more people have died from COVID-19 in the Siouxland metro area. The two people were women older than 80 years old in Woodbury County.

Today, the county's death toll from COVID-19 now stands at 61, according to the Siouxland District Health Department.

The county also reported 61 new positive test cases of the novel coronavirus today. Overall, there have been 4,802 cases in Woodbury County.

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Iowa has reported more than 11 hundred new confirmed coronavirus cases and 15 new deaths in the past 24 hours, as a federal report says the state has one of the nation’s highest infection rates. The state Coronavirus website says there are more than 78 thousand confirmed cases of coronavirus, an increase of 1,259 since 10 a.m. yesterday. 

Iowa can attribute almost 13 hundred deaths to COVID-19 since March. 

Iowa’s unemployment rate for August dropped to 6%. That is continuing a decline from April amid an economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Today, Iowa Workforce Development says that the August rate was down from 6.8% in July and 11% in April. There were more than  96 thousand people listed as unemployed in August, and this is a decline.  There were more than 110 thousand in July. Iowa’s unemployment ranked 12th nationally.