News 6.5.20: Peaceful March in Sioux City, Health Provider Update, Shooting Investigation and More

Jun 5, 2020

GATHERING AT COOK PARK BEFORE PEACEFUL MARCH IN SIOUX CITY

  

A march of solidarity took place in Sioux City this afternoon.

Credit Siouxland Public Media/J.J. Stone

“I can’t breath.”

It started at Cook Park with an estimated crowd of a few hundred.

The group then peacefully walked to Sioux City Police Headquarters.

They were joined by police chief Rex Mueller and leaders from local churches and NAACP.

The Bishop of the Catholic Dioceses of Sioux City released a statement today surrounding the death of George Floyd.

BISHOP R. WALKER NICKLESS
Credit Diocese of Sioux City

R. Walter Nickless says “Prejudice based on race assaults the God-given dignity of the persons against whom it is directed.”

Meanwhile, the Bishop is opening certain churches for private prayers starting on June 15th.

It is the first opening of church buildings since services were suspected in mid March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

However, the prayer service times are limited and no more than 10 people can attend at one time and social distancing guidelines will still apply.

Sioux City Police investigating a shooting this morning that ended with the suspect running away.

It happened around eight this morning near 24th and Clark Streets, a few block from Floyd Boulevard.

Someone fired on a car driving by.  The car then hit a pole.  Officers who were nearby pursued the suspected shooter who got away. 

The driver wasn’t hit by a bullet, but did end up with minor injuries from the accident.

The driver isn’t cooperating with the investigation.

Police believe they know the identity of the suspect and are currently searching for them.

This afternoon local health officials talked about the cases and care of people impacted by COVID-19.

The director of Siouxland District Health Kevin says it appears the disease is leveling off in Woodbury County.

However, the true impact of opening up more of the state won’t happen until late next week because it takes a while for symptoms to appear.

This afternoon local health officials talked about the cases and care of people impacted by COVID-19.

The director of Siouxland District Health Kevin Grieme says it appears the disease is leveling off in Woodbury County.

However, the true impact of opening up more of the state won’t happen until late next week.

“Because anyone who participates in these group activites it takes a while for the symptoms to develop.”

Grieme says Woodbury County is top in the state for the number of residents tested at 11.5%.

And, of people being tested, last week 17% were positive for coronavirus infection and this week the rate is 13%.

Grieme made his comments during a news conference with the leaders of Sioux City’s two hospitals who say the number of patients treated at their facilities continues to fall. 

However, they saw more critically ill patients than first expected when the surge started in the middle of April.

Beth Hughes the president of MercyOne says since the pandemic almost 120 patients have recovered from the disease.  There are currently 73 hospitizlied at both hospitals.

Hughes and the head of UnityPoint-Health St. Luke’s admit revenues fell because they couldn’t perform elective surgeries.

They were forced to reduce staff, hours and furloughed some employees.  The exact number of workers wasn’t released.Hughes also expressed concern about people easing up on social distancing and wearing masks while in public.

The leaders of Sioux City’s two hospitals who say the number of patients treated at their facilities continues to fall.  However, they urge people to still wear masks and take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, Woodbury County added 27 new cases of COVID-19 for more than 2,800 infections. 

Dakota County saw a dozen new cases for a more than 1,700.  There have been a total of 64 deaths in the Sioux City metro area due to Covid-19 complications.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill Thursday that will allow convicted felons to get their voting rights back only after they have paid full restitution to victims.

The bill becomes effective if the legislature passes a proposed constitutional amendment automatically restoring voting rights for convicted felons.

Reynolds, who has pushed for restoration of felon voting rights, initially opposed Republican lawmakers’ efforts to pass the restitution requirement. However, she changed her position once GOP senators said they would not pass the constitutional amendment unless she agreed to the repayment requirement.

It’s unclear if the bill will withstand a court challenge since a similar measure in Florida was struck down as unconstitutional. 

The operators of a Sioux Center chiropractic clinic have agreed to pay more than $30,000 to resolve allegations that they filed false Medicaid claims.

Federal prosecutors accused Sioux Center Chiropractic Wellness Center, operated by Tyler and Tiffany Armstrong, of violating the federal False Claims Act by billing Medicaid for conditions not allowed for payment. As part of the agreement, the Armstrongs admit no wrongdoing.

Extra Stories from the Associated Press:

More employees in Nebraska's prison system have tested positive for COVID-19, as state health figures show the overall number of cases in the state surpassing 15,000. A news release Friday from the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services says two more state prisons employees have tested positive this week for the virus, bringing the total systemwide to 18. One of the two new cases is a staff member at the state prison at Tecumseh. The second was attending a staff training academy. Nebraska's online coronavirus tracking portal shows an additional 251 new cases of the virus reported Thursday, bringing the state's total to 15,117. 

Fewer people filed new claims for unemployment in Nebraska last week, but the number is still higher than it was before the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. Department of Labor reports 5,135 new claims during the week that ended May 30, which is 677 less than the number filed the previous week. The figures are still more than five times higher than they had been in early March, before the pandemic prompted state officials to impose social-distancing restrictions that forced many businesses to close. Natoinally, 1.9 million people filed for unemployment last week.

Six more people have died from the coronavirus in Nebraska and state officials have confirmed 255 new cases. The number of known cases rose to 14,866 and the number of deaths has reached 187 as of Wednesday night. The state's online tracking portal says more than 112,400 people have been tested. Hospital capacity is relatively stable, with 42% of hospital beds, 46% of intensive care unit beds and 75% of ventilators available for use.

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit against the city of Sioux Falls over the drowning of a 5-year-old Iowa girl who fell into Big Sioux River at Falls Park two years ago. Attorneys representing the city asked the court last year to dismiss the lawsuit. The suit was brought by Courtney Jayne, the mother of Maggie Zaiger. Zaiger of Audubon fell into the river from river bank rocks on March 18, 2018, during a family trip to the park. Jayne alleges the city is responsible because of a lack of signs and safety fencing in the park. The Argus Leader reports the judge's ruling will let a jury decide if safety precautions in place at Falls Park at the time of Zaiger’s death were enough.