NEWS 4.12.21: C-19 Updates, Longfellow Elementary Demolition, Ramadan, and Remembering Hong Cuc

Apr 12, 2021

The Iowa Department of Public Health shows no new deaths due to complications of COVID-19. There were 146 new cases including four new cases in Woodbury County in a 24-hour period. The 14-day test positivity rate locally is 6.2%. That is down almost one percent in one week.

Credit Siouxland District Health

A person “associated with” the Iowa Senate has tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to an email from the secretary of the senate, that person was last in the Iowa Capitol on Wednesday and tested positive Saturday.

This is the ninth positive test publicly reported since the legislative session started in January, and the second associated with the Iowa Senate. The other seven were linked to the House.

The Republican leaders of the Iowa Legislature don’t require lawmakers to report coronavirus test results or symptoms, and they don’t require mask wearing.

Nebraska residents who have tested positive for coronavirus antibodies in the last three months are no longer required to quarantine if they get exposed to the virus again, but they’ll still have to wear a mask in public. A Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services administrator said Monday that the agency plans to update its public health requirements this week to match new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Previously, people who were exposed to the virus were required by the state’s health directives to self-isolate at least 14 days.

Half of South Dakota’s population age 16 and over has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Health officials opened vaccine eligibility to anyone over age 16 on Monday. Nearly 300,000 in total have received at least a single dose of the vaccine, and about 70% of those people have completed their vaccinations. However, Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon warns that there has been a 75% jump in COVID-19 infections among people in their 20s over the last six weeks. The state reported 2,413 people with active infections, including 238 new cases. There are 102 people in the hospital with COVID-19.

Members of the Iowa City Catholic Worker House say they are disappointed in Gov. Kim Reynolds for rejecting a federal request to accept migrants in Iowa. 

Last week, the governor said, Iowa didn’t have the facilities to house migrant children.

This comes as U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports nearly 19,000 unaccompanied children arriving at the border in March.

KCCI television in Des Moines reports an official with Catholic Worker says the state has room for migrant children to save them from harm and reunite them with their families.  

Ramadan starts this evening. The holy month in the Islamic calendar, is honored by fasting, refection and community.

Today, three high school students from the South Sioux City Community School educated teachers about Ramadan.

“We don’t even just fast from food, fast from saying bad words, and a time to focus on being a good student and at home be good children for our parents.”

Dhugomsa Mohammed
Credit South Sioux City Community School District
Dhugomsa Mohammed
Credit South Sioux City Community School District

That is senior Dhugomsa Mohammed who is a native of Ethiopia and a member of the student council in South Sioux. Mohammad says in his home country school is usually only held for half days. He feels teachers should allow Muslim students flexibility during Ramadan, including assignment deadlines.   

Over the weekend a memorial service took place for community activist and leader of the local Vietnamese community Hong Cuc Nguyen.

Dozens gathered at the Mary J. Treglia Community House to remember Nguyen who died of complications of COVID-19 in May of last year.

Nguyen served as a role model and positive force to hundreds of people in the Sioux City Asian Community with her work helping immigrants through her work with the Mary Treglia. The memorial yesterday took place on what would have been Nguyen’s 88th birthday.  

Hong Cuc and friends
Credit Jetske Wauran-Castro

Jetske Wauran-Castro attended the gathering and talks about her friend and her impact on the community.

 * Jetske Wauran-Castro is new Director of Marketing and recruitment at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Siouxland.

Demolition of Sioux City’s Longfellow Elementary school will start on Wednesday.

Morningside College plans to build an agricultural center and greenhouse in its place. The center will be used for Morningside’s applied ag and food studies department and include an outdoor classroom and test plot area.

The Biden White House is amplifying the push for its $2.3 trillion infrastructure package with state-by-state breakdowns showing the dire shape of roads, bridges, the power grid and housing affordability. The state summaries were obtained by The Associated Press and paint a bleak outlook for the world’s largest economy after years of repairs being deferred and delayed. The report shows Iowa has 4,571 bridges that need repair.

One of two inmates accused of killing two prison workers at the Anamosa State Penitentiary last month has pleaded not guilty to charges in the case. Television station WHO-TV reports that Michael Dutcher filed a written plead ahead of Monday's scheduled court appearance, which has been postponed at the request of attorneys for the other inmate accused, Thomas Woodard Jr. Both men are charged with first-degree murder and other counts in the March 23 slayings of nurse Lorena Schulte and correctional officer Robert McFarland. Authorities say the workers were killed during a failed escape attempt by Dutcher and Woodard. Both inmates were serving time for armed robbery convictions at the time of the killings.

A federal judge has granted a Nebraska prisoner’s request for an abortion and ordered state officials to transport her to a clinic so she can get the procedure as scheduled on Tuesday in Lincoln. Prison officials had rejected the woman’s request, prompting her to file a civil rights lawsuit on Friday with support from the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska. The woman, identified in the lawsuit as Jane Roe, is a little more than 15 weeks pregnant and has been in prison since Feb. 18. She’s serving a 26-month sentence at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women.

The Omaha economy will get a significant boost from hosting the entire NCAA volleyball championship tournament over the next two weeks. When the NCAA decided to move the entire tournament to the city instead of just holding the Final Four in Omaha, the demand for hotel rooms for the teams and officials jumped from 900 nights to 9,400 nights. The city's convention and visitors bureau estimates that those added hotel rooms alone are expected to generate an $18 million economic impact for the city. The economic boost is welcome after so many events have been cancelled in the past year because of the coronavirus pandemic.