NEWS 3.3.21: IA and NE Vaccine Updates, Ravnsborg Impeachment on Hold?, and More

Mar 3, 2021

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and her husband Kevin Reynolds get the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine during a news conference at Iowa PBS in Johnston, Iowa, Wednesday, March 3, 2021.
Credit Associated Press

The Iowa Department of Public Health recorded three more deaths statewide due to complications of COVID-19 and more than 600 new positive test results, including 28 in Woodbury County.

The number of hospitalizations fell below 200 in Iowa. Sioux City’s two medical facilities saw a decrease of about 30% in patients with COVID-19. There were 15 yesterday and 11 today. The 14-day test positivity rate is up slightly to 6%.

Credit Siouxland District Health

This week, state health officials announced some counties in the state will receive doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The 17 counties include Buena Vista, Crawford, Plymouth, and Sioux Counties.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds stressed the importance of vaccinations during a news conference this morning where she even rolled up her sleeve to receive one.

Reynolds says so far 741,000 doses have been distributed statewide, with almost 24% of the population 18 years and older receiving at least one dose. And almost 70% for people 65 and above. The governor estimates about 70% of teachers and staff have received the vaccine.

Credit coronavirus.iowa.gov

From the Associated Press:

Gov. Kim Reynolds has received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine during her weekly news conference to encourage Iowans to get vaccinated as soon as they can. The governor, her husband Iowa Department of Public Health Administrator Kelly Garcia were vaccinated Wednesday during the televised event. Reynolds says she wanted to wait to get vaccinated until after nursing home residents and staff, essential workers and other priority groups had the chance to do so. Iowa is one of several Republican-led states that have lifted most mask and distancing requirements against the advice of top health experts. President Joe Biden said Wednesday that lifting mask mandates now would be a mistake and urged state leaders to follow the science.

Nebraska health officials will keep their focus on vaccinating older residents during the next phase of the state’s coronavirus response, which could begin in some regions by the end of the month.

Gov. Pete Ricketts says the state has directed local health districts to give 90% of their available doses to residents between the ages of 50 and 64 during the upcoming vaccination phase. The remaining 10% will be set aside for people of all ages with existing health conditions. Ricketts says doctors working with local public health directors will determine who qualifies.

The South Dakota House has left the impeachment of the state’s attorney general in doubt. Lawmakers moved Wednesday to delay evaluating whether Republican Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg should be impeached until the conclusion of the criminal case against him for hitting and killing a man with his car.

The House State Affairs Committee amended a resolution to impeach the state’s top law enforcement agent, striking the articles of impeachment and replacing them with language that said he could potentially be impeached. The resolution holds no requirement that lawmakers take up the issue once the criminal case has concluded.

A decision by the superintendent of Iowa’s largest school district to stick with remote learning in the midst of a global pandemic could end up costing him his administrator license. The Iowa Board of Educational Examiners is seeking to strip Des Moines Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Thomas Ahart of his license, saying it found probable cause that Ahart failed to submit or implement a lawful plan to return students to the classroom for the 2020-21 school year as required by Gov. Kim Reynolds.