NEWS 3.19.21: C-19 and Variant Updates, SD Legislative Latest, St. Patrick's Celebration, and More

Mar 19, 2021

Credit Iowa Department of Public Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports six more COVID-19 related deaths and nearly 600 new cases with almost 10% coming from Woodbury County. There are still no outbreaks at long-term care facilities in the state.

An on-line vaccine dashboard shows more than 447,000 people in Iowa are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Siouxland District Health is planning three more large-scale vaccination clinics at the Tyson Event Center starting next week. There are still appointments available by clicking here.

Meanwhile, residents in Dakota County who are older than 50 can sign up for their vaccination. The Dakota County Health Department says residents can get on a waiting list by going to the website vaccinate.ne.gov

The U-K variant of COVID-19 has now been identified in Winnebago, Nebraska. Other health departments in the Siouxland area have also reported positive cases of the strain, including Woodbury County and Plymouth counties. A news release issued by the Winnebago Comprehensive Healthcare System says someone living in the community tested positive for the mutation. 

The release sent last night to Siouxland Public Media says scientists who have studied this form of the virus believe it does spread more easily and has led to an alarming increase in the number of cases and even deaths.

With the variant in the community, health officials stress the importance of following safety precautions like wearing a well-fitted face mask, social distance, wash your hands, and sanitize frequently. They also advocate for the COVID-19 vaccine and say people who are vaccinated and get infected experience more mild symptoms and are at less risk of mortality. So, far an estimated 59% of the population of Winnebago 16 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

News relase from WCHS:

Winnebago, NE – Winnebago Comprehensive Healthcare System (WCHS), comprised of the Winnebago Public Health Department (WPHD) and Twelve Clans Unity Hospital (TCUH), has confirmed that an individual living in Winnebago tested positive for a COVID-19 variant that was first identified in the United Kingdom (UK) and is called B.1.1.7. This variant is a mutated strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, and is known to spread quicker and be deadlier than other COVID-19 variants. 

Similar to the flu, these viruses constantly change through mutation and cause new variants of the virus to occur over time. These variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been confirmed in the United States and globally. Scientist are still studying these variants, but they do seem to spread more easily than other variants and have led to an alarming increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 and deaths associated with it. 

With the confirmation of this variant in the community, it is important that preventative measures be reinforced to slow the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. These precautions include wearing a well-fitted face mask, maintaining a six-foot distance between others, washing your hands and sanitizing frequently, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Existing patients at Twelve Clans Unity Hospital or the Winnebago Public Health Department who are 16 years and older can sign-up for the COVID-19 vaccine by calling (402) 878-2258 or by filling out the form and submitting it online at www.WinnebagoPublicHealth.com/VaccineWaitingList. The Pfizer vaccine that is administered in Winnebago is about 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 and its variants. In general, vaccinated individuals who are infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and are at less risk of mortality. An estimated 59% of the Winnebago population that is 16 years old and over has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so far. 

The South Dakota Attorney General’s Office plans to hire a full-time employee dedicated to missing and murdered Indigenous person cases. Noem will sign the legislation creating the position. The office will be funded through grants from foundations and the federal government, according to the news release. There are currently 102 missing South Dakotans. About 68%, are Indigenous even though Native Americans make up only about 9% of the state’s population.

Gov. Noem did sign legislation bringing sports gambling to Deadwood. The South Dakota Commission on Gaming met in Deadwood this week to begin framing the rules for the sports wagering. Voters approved a constitutional amendment in November that legalized sports gambling at the town’s casinos. Sports wagering will be allowed on the premises of Deadwood casinos through sports betting windows, kiosks or a mobile app.

The annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration is taking place in Emmetsburg through Sunday. 

Outdoor tent for St. Patrick's Celebration
Credit Facebook/St. Pat's Association in Emmetsburg

Tomorrow morning there is a run at Iowa Lakes Community College, a parade at 1:30 and other activities including live music at night. Organizers tell Radio Iowa COVID-19 guidelines will be followed at all activities.

This Saturday marks the first time the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra takes the stage before a live audience in more than a year due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“This concert will feature strings only of the symphony. We’re going to be under 30 members only for the orchestra. It will still be a great size. But it helps us look at other repertoire  we normally wouldn’t be presenting.”

That’s Music Director and Conductor Ryan Haskins talking about the Symphonic Strings program planned for the Orpheum Theatre. In order to follow safety protocols, mask are mandatory, with seating limited to a few hundred season ticket holders.

“It’s hard to describe what that feels like when you have that connection to the audience if it’s one person or 2,400. That is what we are most looking forward as artists to share in that format again, so we are excited.”

This season the symphony turned to video performance and live streaming with this virtual option available once again.

“How often do you get to see the fingers on the harp or the horse hairs of a bow pulled across the string, even in the. The products we have on SCSO live give a whole new experience.

For more information about Saturday’s show check out the website siouxcitysymphony.org. or scso.live. There are two more programs on this way this season for the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra. Saturday night’s performance starts at 7:30 at the Orpheum and by livestream.

Credit Sioux City Symphony Orchestra