NEWS 8.11.21: C19 Vaccination Support, Mask Sit In, Back to School Change, Council Update, & More

Aug 11, 2021

Siouxland District Health Executive Director Kevin Grieme
Credit Siouxland News CBS14/FOX 44

Community leaders joined forces to stress the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine, especially among younger populations.

“Many times Siouxland has found itself in a leadership role with initiatives across the state at this point we are lagging. I encourage everyone out there listening to get this vaccine.”

That is the Executive Director of Siouxland District Health, Kevin Grieme, who was also joined by Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott at a news conference in front of the Sioux City Public Museum on August 11, 2021. 

“I know there is always going to be people with concerns following the vaccines; a lot of my family members have had it with no effects. We have also have been impacted by COVID-19 in our family.”

Local education leader Dr. Paul Gausman says Siouxlanders have always come together during difficult times.

“COVID-19 is no exception. The only way to win the battle that we can do to decrease cases here in Siouxland and across the country, and as the Superintendent of the Sioux City Community School District, I look forward to the day we can resume our education in the new normal with COVID-19 as part of the daily language.”

The Kind World Foundation’s Cassie Thompson says the non-profit has donated money to provide masks for school students and is also offering an incentive for vaccinations.

“Now as the school year approaches with the with highly contagious delta variant vaccination being 40% and numbers ticking up, we’re not only concerned not only of the safety of children but the community at large.” 

The state rate for vaccinations is 47%. In Woodbury County, the level for people ages 12 to 17 is 20%.

Siouxland District Health today released updated numbers on hospitalizations at Sioux City’s two medical facilities. The number is down to 18 from 22 last week and single digits two weeks ago.

In the past seven days, Woodbury County added 122 new cases with a positivity rate of 9%. Local health officials would like that number to be 4% or below.

Parents, children, and medical professionals gathered in front of the State Capitol today (Wednesday) to protest the state’s mask ban, which prohibits schools from mandating mouth coverings. The demonstrators urged Gov. Kim Reynolds to allow districts to choose a mask option or sign an executive order mandating masks in schools throughout the state. Tanya Keith is a mother of three. Her youngest is six and not eligible for a vaccine. She opposes the mask ban.

“I call it the midnight mask massacre. They signed this bill with no public input. They started this thing in May when we didn't know about Delta variant and it's okay that people make mistakes. It's time for the Iowa GOP and the governor to say things have changed.”

The U-S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended universal indoor masking of all people in schools, regardless of vaccination status.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The state said 17 people who were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have died since January, and the number of virus cases and hospitalizations across Nebraska has steadily increased in recent weeks as the highly contagious delta variant continues to spread. Nebraska health officials didn’t immediately provide many additional details Wednesday about the 1,616 virus cases among people who had been vaccinated, but the number of those breakthrough deaths and cases remains a relatively small number of the total cases that have been reported in the state. COVID-19 vaccines greatly reduce the chance of severe illness and death and remain effective against the variants, including the delta variant

Pete Groetken tells the Sioux City Journal he will not seek a third term on the Sioux City Council, while Mayor Pro Tem Dan Moore said he intends to run for re-election.

Groetken, Moore and Alex Watters are the incumbents up for re-election. Watters told The Journal he is consulting with his family and has not yet made a decision.

The filing period for candidates started on Monday and runs through 5 p.m. Aug. 26.

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The widow of a man struck and killed on a South Dakota highway by the state’s attorney general is attempting to block the release of her husband’s mental health records. A judge recently ordered several hospitals and clinics to provide records about Joe Boever’s psychiatric state. The judge's order came after a lawyer for Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg alleged in court documents that Boever’s Sept. 12 death may have been a suicide. The judge was to review the records before deciding whether any of the information is relevant to Ravnsborg’s upcoming trial. Jenny Boever argues that she has substantial right to privacy under the South Dakota Constitution and that the records release might disclose sensitive information about her.

News release from the Sioux City Community School District:

Sioux City Community School District Announces Change of Plans for Annual Back to School Night Event

[Sioux City, Iowa] The Sioux City Community School District is revising its plans for the annual Back to School Night on Thursday, August 19 to allow for more social distancing. The annual event provides students and their families an opportunity to tour the District’s schools, meet teachers, and drop off school supplies.

This year’s event will be organized much like last year’s Back to School Night, limiting the number of attendees in each of the buildings at one time due to COVID-19. 

·       Elementary School: Families will be asked to schedule appointment times between 4 pm to 6 pm for TK and kindergarten students and 5 pm to 7 pm for students in first through fifth grade. Schools will be contacting families with more information on scheduling appointments.  

·       Middle School: New students and students entering sixth grade are invited to tour their school and meet teachers between 5 pm to 7 pm.

·       High School: New students and students entering ninth grade are invited to tour their school and meet teachers between 6 pm to 8 pm.

For the health and safety of everyone, unvaccinated individuals are encouraged to wear masks for Back to School Night. 

Families attending Back to School Night are asked to label their child’s school supplies with a permanent marker ahead of time to help teachers keep each student’s materials together and identify the supplies for the student’s use only. Additional information to help families prepare for the start of the new school year is available on the Sioux City Community School District website at siouxcityschools.org or on the new District’s new mobile app.

Families with questions are encouraged to call their child’s school or contact the school through the Let’s Talk link at siouxcityschools.org. 

News release from the 185th Air Refueling Wing: 

SIOUX CITY, IOWA. – The 114th Fighter Wing will be basing its flying operations out of the 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City, Iowa Aug. 10-12, 2021 in support of the 114th Fighter Wing’s 2021 Readiness Exercise. Local residents may notice a presence of additional uniformed Airmen, F-16 aircraft and associated equipment.

The 114th Fighter Wing will be exercising its ability to deploy to unfamiliar locations within a limited timeframe. This will require Airmen to demonstrate flexibility and ingenuity in order to generate and sustain simulated combat airpower from Col. Bud Day Field. 

The ability to deploy quickly, with a limited number of people and equipment is important to train so that our Airmen are ready to serve wherever and whenever our nation calls. This exercise provides the 114th Fighter Wing with an opportunity to practice those capabilities.

Any questions or concerns should be directed to the 114th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Officer, Major Amy Rittberger, at 605-988-5946 or via email at amy.rittberger.2@us.af.mil.”