Newscast 09.22.22: COVID Tests and Deaths in Iowa; SD Gov. Kristi Noem faces criticism
The number of Iowans who have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic has passed 10 thousand.
State officials confirmed 57 additional deaths in the past seven days. This brings the state’s total death count to 10,051.
That’s as officials report a drop in the number of reported positive COVID tests.
More than 37 hundred positive tests were reported in the past week, a significant drop from last week’s number.
Federal Health and Human Services officials also report a slight decrease in hospitalizations this week. As of Wednesday, 222 Iowans hospitalized have tested positive for COVID.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 63 percent of all Iowans are fully vaccinated against the virus.
The number of COVID-19 tests coming back positive in Woodbury County has fallen dramatically. There was a nearly 40 percent decrease in positive COVID tests reported in the last seven days, according to the state's most recent COVID-19 report. The data, updated Tuesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health, shows 115 positive tests, which is down from the 190 positive tests reported on Sept. 6.
The CDC's COVID Data Tracker rates Woodbury County's community transmission level as medium. That level was calculated on Sept. 15 using data from Sept. 8 to 14.
When community transmission is medium, the CDC recommends those at high risk for severe illness find out if they need to wear a mask and take other precautions, get tested if they have symptoms and stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines.
A last-minute deal prevented a railroad strike for now, but many rail workers remain unhappy with working conditions. Handfuls of workers gathered outside rail yards across the country Wednesday in pickets organized by a newly formed workers group separate from the 12 unions that negotiated the deals last week with the major U.S. freight railroads. The protesters expressed dissatisfaction with the deals, just as the unions are trying to explain the potential benefits they negotiated to their roughly 115,000 members ahead of contract votes. Workers’ concerns about time off and demanding attendance policies at the railroads took center stage in the negotiations.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is facing a lawsuit after her office refused to release expense records on five out-of-state trips this year to a liberal watchdog group. American Oversight is an organization that files open records requests and litigation against Republican officials. It filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Noem. She is in the midst of a reelection campaign and eyeing a bid for the GOP’s 2024 presidential ticket. American Oversight alleges that the governor’s office did not follow the state’s open records law by claiming that releasing the records would create a threat to the governor’s safety. In May, the organization had requested expense records, including lodging and travel, for Noem's 2022 trips.
South Dakota teachers and school administrators are voicing opposition to Gov. Kristi Noem’s proposed standards for social studies in public schools because it mostly left them out of the process of writing the standards. The state’s Board of Education Standards has kicked off a series of public hearings before deciding whether to adopt the Republican governor's proposed standards. They would remake the state’s standards for history and civics by relying heavily on material from Hillsdale College, a private, conservative institution in Michigan. Conservatives and some parents who spoke at the Board of Education Standards hearing in Aberdeen on Monday defended the proposal as a robust effort to address a lack of knowledge of American civics.
Opening the taps when the Husker men and women take to the basketball court at Pinnacle Bank Arena this season could be will be a financial boost for Lincoln.
According to an amended operating agreement to be considered by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents next week, 90% of the net revenue from beer and liquor sales will be put into the city's coffers.
The remaining 10% of the revenue -- after the cost of goods -- will be returned to the university, according to the regents' agenda item published Thursday morning.
If the deal seems lopsided in favor of the city, that's because Lincoln bears most of the costs of running the arena.