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NEWS 1.21.22

Iowa Department of Public Health

The number of Iowa hospital patients who’ve tested positive for Covid has dropped by about 3% since Wednesday.

State data shows six out of 10 patients in an Iowa hospital today were admitted for treatment of Covid and about 18.5% of those Covid patients are in an intensive care unit.

The number of Iowa nursing homes with Covid outbreaks continues to rise — more than doubling in the past two weeks. Nursing home residents were at the head of the line when Covid vaccines became available a year ago. The AARP’s state director is calling on Iowa nursing homes to require booster shots for residents and staff.

The state’s coronavirus website shows 1.8 Iowans are fully vaccinated — just under 60% of the state’s population.

Effective this Monday, January 24, South Sioux City Community School District will be moving to a temporary 4-day school week for all students. This will be in place for the next three weeks. The school district says the change is due to an all-time high in medical/illness related absentee rates and to ensure optimal operations for staff,

There will be no school on January 24, 31, and February 7.

A weekly trend report did show a drop in COVID-19 cases in the Sioux City Community School District. There were 235 students and staff out after testing positive, with about 1% of the student body, and almost 3% of teachers and staff. On Monday night, Superintendent Paul Gausman will ask the school board to allow him to make decisions on issuing mask mandates. Gausman told Siouxland Public Media in an interview yesterday he would like the ability to

Indicted U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry’s political fortunes took a major hit Friday when two of Nebraska’s most prominent Republicans withdrew their longtime support for him and endorsed a state lawmaker who hopes to unseat the nine-term congressman in the GOP primary. Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts and former Gov. Dave Heineman announced that they would support state Sen. Mike Flood, who is challenging Fortenberry amid concerns that the federal charges he faces could cost the GOP an otherwise safe House seat. Fortenberry has pleaded not guilty to charges accusing him of making false statements to federal investigators about an illegal $30,000 campaign contribution from a foreign national and not properly disclosing it in his campaign filings.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has unveiled a proposal to ban most abortions. It mimics a Texas law that leaves enforcement up to private citizens through lawsuits instead of to prosecutors through criminal charges. The governor has previewed the proposed law for weeks and it has received an enthusiastic reception from fellow Republicans who dominate the Legislature. The bill would prohibit abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, which is usually around the sixth week and before some women even know they’re pregnant. Courts have blocked some states from imposing similar restrictions, but Texas’ law has so far been allowed to stand in part because it leaves enforcement up to private citizens.

A Republican-dominated South Dakota House committee has rejected Gov. Kristi Noem’s proposal to require public schools to have a moment of silence to start the day. The Republican governor first billed the proposal at a conservative Christian conference last year as “putting prayer back in schools." But a House committee rejected the idea after education groups argued that voluntary prayer is already allowed in schools and the proposed law would have saddled teachers with an unclear mandate. The Republican-dominated House Education committee rejected the bill on a nine to six vote. But it could still be revived with support from one-third of House members.

Sheila Brummer returns to her radio roots as a Reporter/Special Projects Producer for Siouxland Public Media KWIT-KOJI.