NEWS 10.13.21: IA C19 Rates Down in Iowa; Up in Woodbury County, Obese Children, and More

Oct 13, 2021

Credit Siouxland District Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health added 94 additional deaths due to complications of COVID-19, including one more in Woodbury County.

The deaths happened between late August and early October for a total of 6,748 since the start of the pandemic.

The number of positive tests in the last seven days continues to fall, down 8% since Monday.

Iowa’s test positivity rate dropped to 9.2%.  However, the positivity rate in Woodbury County is 17% with most cases in younger people according to Siouxland District Health.

A post on social media says “the younger you are, the less likely you are to be vaccinated. Vaccine is best at preventing serious infections, but it helps with all infections.” Also, “locally vaccinations have slowed again after a nice period of steady increases and it is the best tool in preventing serious infections.”

The current rate of fully vaccinated people in Woodbury County is 45.8%. That is 9% less than the statewide rate.

Hospitalizations are back up, statewide there are almost 600 patients, up more than 30 since Monday.

A weekly report shows 40 patients with COVID-19 are being treated at Sioux City’s two major hospitals. And, increase of seven from last week.

Meanwhile, South Dakota added 10 more deaths this week for a total of 2,177.

The department of health added more than 2,300 new cases in a week. A decrease of about 650. Hospitalizations fell from 221 to 207.

Advocates for legalizing recreational marijuana in South Dakota are trying for a second time to legalize cannabis possession and cultivation for adults through a ballot initiative. South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws said it would launch a signature-gathering campaign in the coming days after the Secretary of State approved a ballot initiative proposal for circulation Tuesday. The group has less than a month to collect nearly 17,000 signatures from South Dakota voters to meet a deadline to place the issue on next year’s ballot. The state Supreme Court is still weighing the fate of a constitutional amendment that would have legalized cannabis for adults.

A new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has found about one in six Iowa children ages 10 to 17 are obese.

The report ranked Iowa 18th in the nation for child obesity. Its rate of nearly 17 percent is slightly above the national average.

An official with the foundation the COVID-19 pandemic has just exacerbated the childhood obesity crisis, which disproportionately affects low-income families and children of color. 

The report is recommending policy changes such as making universal school meals permanent and expanding federal programs like WIC and others that aim to pull families out of poverty.

Gov. Pete Ricketts is praising a federally funded job-training program that helps Nebraskans on food stamps pay for textbooks, transportation and other services to help them get higher-paying jobs. Ricketts singled out the SNAP Next Step Employment and Training program at a news conference, calling it a “life-changing” initiative that assists several dozen recipients a year. The program is jointly administered by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for the state, and the Nebraska Department of Labor, which provides job coaches to recipients.

A 71-year-old Spirit Lake man has again been found guilty of murder in a second trial in the May 2020 death of a Cleghorn man. The Sioux City Journal reports that a Sioux County jury on Tuesday found Gregg Eugene Winterfeld guilty of second-degree murder in the death of 58-year-old Grant Wilson. Wilson was found dead in a rural Ireron, Iowa, home, and investigators said Winterfeld shot the younger man during an argument. Winterfeld was charged with first-degree murder, but a jury in April found him guilty of second-degree murder. Before Winterfeld could be sentenced, a judge ordered a new trial after determining an error had been made during the jury selection process. Winterfeld faces up to 50 years in prison when he’s sentenced later.