Iowa has surpassed 4,000 coronavirus-related deaths, marking another grim milestone with its infection rate rising again and most people still months from being able to get vaccinated.
State health officials reported 61 additional deaths on Wednesday, pushing the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 4,060. Iowa had the 16th highest per capita coronavirus death rate, at nearly 127 deaths per 100,000 people, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, officials in Polk County, home to Des Moines, released a tentative timeline this week warning that the general public likely won’t be able to get vaccinated until mid to late 2021.
Siouxland District Health released an update on the distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine in Woodbury County.
A news release says it may be late spring to summer of 2021 before adequate quantities are available for anyone in the general public.
Locally, vaccines are being done to Phase 1A priority groups of health care personal and long-term care residents and staff.
The facilities started receiving vaccinates through the National Pharmacy Partnership on December 28th.
Healthcare workers will likely continue to be the primary focus over the next several weeks. When the new phases and of vaccinations start, doctor offices will contact people who are eligible for their shots.
A vaccination clinic is planned for tonight for rural emergency medical services personnel.
More information from Siouxland District Health:
Visit our website at http://www.siouxlanddistricthealth.org/ for more information about COVID-19 vaccine, or for additional information and updates related to COVID-19, visit https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus/Vaccine.
Information about doses of the vaccine in Woodbury County:
Woodbury County initially received 2,925 doses of the Pfizer vaccine that were allocated to both of our local hospitals. SDHD also received 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine, of which 300 doses were redistributed out to local medical clinics for them to begin vaccinating their staff. The remaining 200 doses will be used by SDHD to vaccinate our local emergency medical services (EMS) providers. We have also received notification that each of the hospitals have received or will soon receive another 975 doses each that will continue to be used for the Phase 1A priority populations. We anticipate we will continue to receive allocations, and the booster doses that follow the initial dose.
Dakota County Health is expecting to move into Phase 1B for vaccines. This allows adults 75 and older to receive the vaccine. They say people can call the health department to reserve an appointment.
In Woodbury County, there have been 94 new cases added to the total case count in the last 24 hours for more than 12,500 total cases, 171 deaths and a 16.8% positivity rate. The positivity rate was 13.5% from a week ago.
There’s concern a new, more contagious strain of the coronavirus, now infection five states is in Nebraska as well. However, cases haven’t been confirmed yet.
Health officials say the new strain is concerning because it could lead to an increase in hospitalizations in Nebraska.
The state’s public health lab is purchasing its own equipment to test for the mutated virus.
The new strain has led to a national lockdown in England, and the virus has been detected in California, Florida, New York, Georgia, and neighboring Colorado.
The state reported 1,448 new cases of the virus and 10 new deaths Tuesday.
South Dakota health officials are confirming six new deaths due to complications from the coronavirus, after two straight days with no fatalities. The death lifted the total to 1,519 since the start of the pandemic. The COVID Tracking Project says the state's death count is the seventh highest per capita in the country at about 171 deaths per 100,000 people. The update showed 608 new positive tests, including 144 in Minnehaha County, 31 in Lincoln County, 36 in Brown County and 35 in Codington County. The state has confirmed 91,875 cases overall. One in every 302 people in South Dakota tested positive in the past week.
The South Dakota State Bar Association is advising attorneys against providing legal services to businesses seeking to produce or sell marijuana in the state.
South Dakota voters approved legalizing both recreational and medical pot on the same ballot in November.
In the State Bar’s January newsletter, the group says there’s no doubt that manufacturing, distributing or dispensing or possessing marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
It notes that the Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys in South Dakota states “a lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage or assist a client in conduct the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent, but may discuss the legal consequences of that conduct."
The Iowa Arts Council award almost $82,000 to 15 entities across the state on Wednesday.
One Siouxland non-profit was singled out for a new grant program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Sioux City Art Center received a $5,000 Virtual Arts Experience grant. The money will go toward a video with Sioux City art teachers to introduce the venue, curators and the creation of exhibitions to students.
News release from the Iowa Arts Council:
Iowa Arts Council awards Virtual Arts Experience grants
Grants adapted to encourage innovation in delivering online arts experiences
DES MOINES – The Iowa Arts Council today announced $81,708 in Virtual Arts Experience Grants have been awarded to 14 nonprofit organizations and one school across the state.
The new grant program was created in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and replaces the Iowa Arts Council’s traditional grants for field trips and other in-school arts experience programs during the current fiscal year. The funding will help Iowans of all ages experience the arts through online learning.
“Arts organizations and educators across the state are developing innovative ways to inspire students and learners of all ages,” Iowa Arts Council Administrator David Schmitz said. “The Iowa Arts Council is delighted to support their ongoing efforts through these grants.”
As a part of the adaptive programming, educators from the Virtual Arts Experience Grant recipients can participate in a skill-building professional-development opportunity developed by Yen Verhoeven of the Qi Learning Research Group. This multi-part training will help educators to be effective in developing online arts learning resources and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) related programs.
The Virtual Arts Experience Program is supported with funding appropriated by the Iowa Legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. The training is being developed through a public-private partnership with the Iowa Arts Council, Bravo Greater Des Moines and Qi Learning Research Group.
The list of grant recipients is below:
Cedar Rapids: The Eastern Iowa Arts Academy received $3,078 to present virtual art classes for high school students in the autism program at Washington High School.
Cedar Rapids: The National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library received $10,000 to offer 15 virtual music performances by local artists for K-12 music classrooms and aging adults in care centers. Participating students and aging adults will engage in a virtual pen pal program. Students will submit music-related questions to adult learners who will record their responses with the help of care center staff.
Cedar Rapids: Playtime Poppy Children’s Theatre received $5,000 and will partner with the National Czech & Slovak Museum and Library to design a series of virtual arts-integrated storytelling programs led by local teaching artists.
Davenport: The Quad City Symphony Orchestra received $10,000 to expand digital access to its annual Symphony Day program and four chamber ensemble performances as well as in-house recorded sessions with QCSO teaching artists to use as classroom education engagements.
Davenport: River Music Experience received $2,500 to revise and revamp its popular RiverCurrents school music education programming and broaden its impact to more schools throughout the region.
Des Moines: ArtForce Iowa received $10,000 to partner with Jonny Stax Creations to provide a 4-part justice, equity, diversity and intersectionality professional development training for artists and youth workers serving youth beyond the margins.
Des Moines: City Voices received $1,005 to launch an online course with Des Moines Public Schools to help students and aspiring actors build skills to help them audition for college programs and pursue careers in musical theater.
Des Moines: Civic Music Association received $3,125 to introduce Voices of Freedom to Des Moines high schools in collaboration with the Louis Armstrong House Museum and Archive. Voices of Freedom teaches music, dance, theater, writing and visual art while analyzing the role of jazz in the fight for racial justice in American history.
Des Moines: Girls Rock! received $5,000 to support multimedia arts programming, digital production equipment, online apps and platforms, album production costs, instructors and more for young women to create original songs and do live, monthly performances, including a final showcase.
Des Moines: The Greater Des Moines Music Coalition received $10,000 to expand virtual offerings for their after-school classes by providing equipment, instruments and supplies for students to use at home.
Grundy Center: The Grundy Center Elementary School received $500 to hire artist Dale Santoiemma of Waverly to virtually teach cartooning skills to 265 students from kindergarten to fourth grade.
Iowa City: The Englert Theatre received $10,000 to promote writers of color through a weekly podcast.
Iowa City: FilmScene received $1,500 to create "Black Lives on Screen" and "FilmScene 101: The Black Image in Comics." Both programs will explore the diversity of the Black American experience as portrayed on screen and envisioned by filmmakers of color.
Sioux City: The Sioux City Art Center received $5,000 to work with Sioux City art teachers on a video that will introduce the venue, curators and the creation of exhibitions to students.
Waterloo/Cedar Falls: The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra received $5,000 to create a Virtual Education Program for elementary age students in the Waterloo and Cedar Falls school districts.
Applications were accepted and grants were awarded in two rounds, in November and December 2020. The Iowa Arts Council is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Learn more about the Virtual Arts Experience Grant program at iowaculture.gov.