NEWS 6.7.21: C19 Cases Fall, Local Reporting Changes, Vaccine Push, Father's Day Enforcement, & More

Jun 7, 2021

Credit Iowa Department of Public Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports no additional deaths due to complications of COVID-19. 6,072 Iowans have died since the start of the pandemic, with 229 in Woodbury County.

There were more than 40 new cases statewide with two more in Woodbury County.

Credit Siouxland District Health

The 14-test positivity rate locally is just under the statewide rate of 2%. This shows low community spread.

A sign of lower levels of COVID-19, officials from Siouxland District Health will no longer post daily reports as of June 5. County-wide information can still be found on the state COVID-19 dashboard with the exception of local hospitalizations.

Currently there are four patients with the virus at Sioux City’s two medical facilities with two being treated due solely to COVID-19.

Siouxland District Health will still provide periodic updates as needed.

State health officials in Iowa have launched a multi-media marketing campaign to encourage more Iowans to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The campaign includes television and online advertisements showing summertime events in Iowa. This is to remind people getting vaccinated can quote reflect a return to normalcy.

Gov. Kim Reynolds told reporters last week she will not enact incentives like a vaccine lottery, as some other states have done.

Nearly 1 point 4 million Iowans have been fully vaccinated. That’s approximately 45 percent of the total population.

The Iowa Department of Corrections has announced it will resume in-person visitation in early July for those prisoners who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. More than 58 percent of those incarcerated in Iowa’s prisons were reported fully vaccinated and 62 percent reported as having had one shot.

Iowa’s prisons and jails banned visitors in early March 2020 as the outbreak of the coronavirus hit the US.

A spokesperson says the decision was made after prisons officials spoke to state health officials and looked at what other state prison systems were doing as more people become vaccinated.

South Dakota lawmakers have rejected rules proposed by Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration that would have set parameters students who need to use medical marijuana at school.

A legislative committee on Monday sent the rules back to the Department of Education for revision. Lawmakers complain the rules would have required access to medical pot in private schools and did not spell out what activities students would be barred from while using marijuana.

While voters passed a law that requires state agencies to roll out a medical pot program this year, progress has been slow-going. The Republican governor is tasked with overseeing the program rollout.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center is requiring faculty, staff and students to document whether they've been vaccinated against COVID-19. The requirement kicks in June 21. Documentation is required because medical students work with patients in clinics and hospital wards. Faculty, staff and students who choose not to get vaccinated will be required to wear masks. Health security official says the documentation is only required for the medical center and not other campuses in the University of Nebraska system. Creighton University will require students to be fully vaccinated starting July 7.

The family of a mentally ill Oklahoma man who died in a struggle with Omaha police four years ago is rallying for him again with a silent walk to the place where he died. Omaha television station KETV reports that Zachary Bear Heels died outside a gas station in June 2017 after Omaha police used a stun gun on him 12 times and punched him in the head. Some of the shocks came while Bear Heels was handcuffed and sitting simply against a vehicle. Officials said Bear Heels died of excited delirium, physical struggle, physical restraint and use of a stun gun. Family members said the 29-year-old had schizophrenia and was bipolar, something that may have impacted him that night.

News release from the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office:

Father’s Day should be a time to celebrate, but it can also be one of the deadliest on the roads. The Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office is joining Iowa’s statewide Traffic Fatality Reduction Task Force to reduce deaths on Iowa roadways. As part of that effort the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Sioux City Police Department and the Iowa State Patrol will be conducting a special enforcement initiative geared toward the reduction of impaired drivers leading into Father’s Day week.

While Father’s Day will be celebrated on Sunday, June 20, law enforcement officials hope to reverse the dangerous fatality trend with early awareness and enforcement efforts. Sadly, data from the past 10 years indicates Father’s Day weekend shows a higher incidence of impaired drivers on Iowa roads. To help get everyone home safely, our officers will join other law enforcement agencies from around Iowa to increase our focus impaired driving this weekend. Results from a three-year study conducted by autoinsurance.org, Father’s Day ranks fifth out of the 10 deadliest holidays. Between 2016 and 2018, an average of nearly 439 deadly crashes happened each Father’s Day holiday period on roadways across the United States.

The eventual goal for fatalities for Iowa is ZERO, but the incremental goal for 2021 is under 300, down from 338 in 2020. If achieved, this will be the first time Iowa traffic fatalities were under 300 lives since 1925.

News release from the Sioux City Police Department on weekend shooting:

  

Corey Smith
Credit Sioux City Police Department