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NEWS 7.26.22: Monkeypox in Woodbury County, COVID-19 Stable in Nebraska and Up in Iowa, RAGBRAI Day 3, and More

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The first case of monkeypox is in Woodbury County. The Deputy Director of Siouxland District Health says because of confidentiality issues, no other information will be released. With the additional case, the total number of confirmed infections in Iowa is seven. Over the weekend, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global emergency. Monkeypox is usually spread through direct close contact.

COVID-19 cases in Nebraska appear to be flattening, at least according to the latest reported numbers.

Nebraska reported almost 3,600 for the week ending Friday. That’s down 11%, according to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nebraska’s case numbers also remain at relatively low levels compared to the nation, about 25% below the U.S. rate. Nationally, COVID cases were down roughly 5% last week, with almost two-thirds of states reporting declines. Iowa was one of the exceptions, with cases rising there by more than 30%, though Iowa’s current per-capita case rate is well below the nation’s and slightly below Nebraska’s.

The leaders of two Iowa health care groups say they’re concerned about the pending closure of the state-run Glenwood Resource Center for residents with profound disabilities.

After a federal investigation of how residents were being treated, state officials announced the facility would close in 2024. Radio Iowa reports leaders of the Iowa CareGivers Association and the Iowa Health Care Association say they are worried about the impact on residents and their families as a shortage of employees and facilities plagues the state.

The Iowa Environmental Council is calling on state organizations to create a better system for monitoring nutrient pollution in Iowa’s watersheds.

It’s been almost a decade since state legislators allocated 100 million dollars to the Nutrient Reduction Strategy program. But, IEC water program director, Ingrid says that a lack of in-stream sensors has made it difficult to accurately track the program’s progress.

“The public needs to know what their tax dollars are going toward, and whether that money is being spent wisely. So, are we actually getting a water quality benefit out of that?”

Gronstal says that real-time monitoring is the best way to assess that. She wants state organizations to collaborate to look at small watersheds and determine where the greatest need is.

Dead fish are washing up on the shore of Storm Lake. Iowa Department of Natural Resources fisheries biologist Ben Wallace says an initial investigation indicates one species of fish is affected.

“It looks to be a disease kind of specifically impacting the common carp,” he says, “so, to be honest, not a huge impact on the fishery there.”

Wallace tells Radio Iowa thousands of dead carp have been found along Storm Lake’s shore, likely killed by a fungal infection.

Day 3 of RAGBRAI once again travels through Siouxland. Cyclists took off from Pocahontas for a 56-mile ride through the communities of Havelock, Rolfe, and West Bend. Other overnight towns are Mason City, Charles City, and West Union. RAGBRAI will end in Lansing on Saturday.

The Mega Millions estimated jackpot for tonight’s drawing has increased. A spokesperson for the Iowa Lottery says a jump in sales increased the jackpot to $810 million for the annuity option and $471 million for the cash option. The number could go even higher. It’s the 3rd highest one for Mega Millions. The record is $1.5 billion won in South Carolina in 2018. The odds of winning are extremely small, with one in about 303 million.

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