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NEWS 8.23.22: COVID-19 and Kids, Bad Beaches, Crop Update, and More

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Iowa had above-normal statewide rainfall last week for the first time in more than a month, which helped stabilize the conditions of corn and soybean plants, according to the USDA.

The State Climatologist tells the Iowa Capital Dispatch an average of 1.12 inches of rain fell across the state, about 23% more than normal. Some of the heaviest rainfall was in drought-stricken areas of northwest Iowa. Sioux City saw a record one-day rainfall of 1.94 inches at the Sioux Gateway Airport on August 15th. Some spots in the metro area reported even higher amounts.

The State’s Agricultural Secretary Mike Naig says Iowa still needs several months of above-average precipitation to relieve the most intense drought conditions. He adds last week’s rain helped stressed soybeans continue to set and fill pods.

This week the USDA rated 66% of the state’s corn crop as good or excellent, a figure that was unchanged and more stable than last week’s report. 62% of soybeans were rated good or excellent, a decline of 1 percentage point.

Drought conditions have worsened significantly in Iowa in recent weeks, especially in the southern half of the state, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Its latest report from last week shows areas of extreme drought in northwest Iowa and widespread severe drought in southern Iowa, but the map doesn’t reflect some of the recent heavy rains. A new report is expected Thursday.

The water at a Spirit Lake beach recently had the highest concentrations of bacteria detected so far this year at any state beach in Iowa and also an unhealthy amount of blue-green algae toxins, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. For more on the story from the Iowa Capital Dispatch, click here.

New numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 84.5 percent of blood samples taken from Iowa kids indicate a current or past infection of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

The CDC tested 257 blood samples from Iowa kids ages six months to 17 years of age taken from early May to late June.

The federal agency says its information does not measure antibodies produced by a COVID-19 vaccine or if the samples have enough antibodies to prevent reinfection.

Experts say it’s important for children as young as six months to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent severe illness, which can happen in rare cases.

State data shows just 12.5% of Iowa children ages six months to 9 years are fully vaccinated, while just under 44% of those ages 10 to 19 are.

RSV is a growing concern for healthcare experts around Sioux City, but there are a few things parents can do to help prevent it.

The virus is mostly spead person-to-person through respiratory droplets.

There is a rapid test that can detect RSV, but a specialist at MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center tells Siouxland News CBS 14 FOX 44 that there is no cure or antiviral treatment.

Experts say the best way to prevent getting RSV is to wash your hands and limit exposure to people who have the virus.

Nebraska's top elections official says measures to legalize medical marijuana in the state will

not appear on the November general election ballot after failing to collect enough signatures.

The Nebraska Secretary of State says Medical Cannabis Patient Protections Initiative and the Medical Cannabis Regulation Initiative failed to meet signature requirements to get either proposal on the ballot.

Each proposal needed about 87,000 signatures — or a total of 7% of registered voters — as well as 5% of registered voters in at least 38 of Nebraska’s 93 counties. Each effort fell about 10,000 signatures short.

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