NEWS 8.18.21: Woodbury County C19 Update, LEC Funding Concern, Climate Protest, and More

Aug 18, 2021

Credit Siouxland District Health

In a weekly update, Siouxland District Health reported lower COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations in Woodbury County. The positivity rate is almost 7% with only three hospitalizations due to COVID only.

However, the number of people vaccinated rose by point-six (0.6) percent.

Deputy Director Tyler Brock says .6% is actually a decent increase for one week for the number of people finishing their two-dose series. One week ago, local officials urged anyone age 12 and older to get their shot.

When it comes to the booster, they will not go out until at least September 20th through Siouxland District Health. The dose needs to come at least eight months after the first series of vaccinations. They plan to release more information when it becomes available.

South Dakota again seeing an increase in cases and 43% more hospitalizations according to the Argus Leader.

The state of Nebraska reported almost 2,700 new virus cases in the past week. The current case numbers are more than 10 times higher than what the state reported in late June.

Nebraska officials are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak at a state correctional facility as virus cases surge statewide. After 33 inmates tested positive for COVID-19 at the Diagnostic and Evaluation Center in Lincoln, officials paused all visits and volunteer activities.

They also asked county jails to delay sending new inmates if they can.

An advocacy group and labor leaders are alleging that the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors is misspending $15.6 million in Federal COVID money to pay for the new law enforcement center. 

The group United Today, Stronger Tomorrow plans to hold a news conference at the Woodbury County Courthouse Thursday afternoon at 3.

Board Chair Rocky De Witt says the board vetted the use of the funds extensively. De Witt adds that those funds are allowed to be used on HVAC systems like the one at the new LEC.

Law enforcement agencies across Nebraska are warning residents of an increased risk following a spate of drug overdose deaths in the state.

They issued a joint news release saying there have been 21 overdoses — eight resulting in death — in Lincoln and Omaha over a six-day span starting Aug. 10.

Officials say the majority of the overdoes involved the use of cocaine that has been laced with the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, and dose equivalent in size to a few grains of salt can be lethal.

Nine men have been arrested as the result of a sex trafficking sting operation during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The South Dakota U.S. Attorney’s Office says the operation began Aug. 6 and ended Aug. 12. The men range in age from 22 to 54. Eight of the men are from South Dakota. They are charged with attempted enticement of a minor using the internet. The charge carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. One man from New York is charged with attempted commercial sex trafficking of a minor. That charge carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.

From Iowa Public Radio:

Protesters gathered outside the MidAmerican Energy headquarters in downtown Des Moines today to demand Iowa’s largest energy company retire all of its coal plants in nine years. They also want MidAmerican to invest in retrofitting homes for energy efficiency with a focus on families of color and low-income individuals. Jake Grobe spoke to the group through a megaphone before leading them into the building. He answered his own question of who is hurt most by climate change.

“It's Black, indigenous, it's poor working families that are unable to recover from flash floods, from droughts from wildfires. Climate crisis increases all inequalities.”

The Sierra Club reports MidAmerican Energy runs five coal plants in Iowa. In 2018, the state ranked 25th for carbon emissions.

Statement from MidAmerican Energy spokesperson Geoff Greenwood:

"We are on a journey to decarbonize our portfolio and are striving to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in a manner our customers can afford, our regulators will allow and technology advances support.

Renewable energy is a larger piece of the pie than ever before and we continue to expand it. Last year we delivered 83.6% of our Iowa customers' annual energy needs with renewable sources -- one of the highest achievements among utility companies in the nation."

When the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine, it is essential that we maintain a diverse generating portfolio so we can provide our customers – families, farms and businesses - with a reliable energy source."

Nebraska has confirmed that its football program is under NCAA investigation. According to The Action Network, the Cornhuskers allegedly had analysts working in improper roles during games and practices and unauthorized off-campus workouts dating back a year. There is allegedly video footage confirming practice violations occurred in the presence of head coach Scott Frost and other assistants. Frost has gone 12-20 in three years The program has had four straight losing seasons.

After a weekend concert at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, county superstar Garth Brooks pulled the plug today on the next five stops of his stadium tour, citing the latest wave of COVID-19.

The singer canceled shows in Cincinnati, Charlotte, North Carolina, Baltimore, Foxborough, Massachusetts, and Nashville, Tennessee.

The Catholic Diocese of Sioux City’s COVID-19 Task Force is urging the community to wear masks indoors during services. There will be no mask mandate, but other safety measures have been in place to protect church members.

News release from the Catholic Diocese of Sioux City:

The Diocese of Sioux City COVID-19 Task Force is urging the community to wear masks indoors during their services. 

Due to the delta variant, religious officials met with Bishop Nickless to speak about the protocols they want to pursue.

  • There will be no sign of peace during mass
  • Communion will only feature bread
  • Hand sanitizer during Communion isn’t mandated, but it should be applied by priests, deacons and the laity before to the general distribution of the Eucharist and after the general distribution to the congregation.
  • Pastors / Parishes are advised to regularly speak to the issue and print materials (bulletins, etc.) on the proper reception of the Eucharist by hand and by mouth in order to show the appropriate reverence to the body of Christ and limit contact during Communion distribution.
  • Pastors should urge their congregation to get the body of Christ in their hand (understanding it is their right to receive via their mouth).
  • Anyone above two years old is urged to wear a mask during indoor parish liturgies.
  • All clergy and laity are urged to wear a mask while distributing Communion.
  • Parish meals / events / meetings, etc. are not cancelled.
  • Technology will be considered for parish meetings if positivity rates for COVID-19 are high/rising
  • Consider social distancing 
  • Local health officials can answer questions or concerns about food distribution and preparation
  • Carry-out meals are safer than eating in
  • Outdoor seating is better when possible.
  • Increase table and chair spacing when possible.
  • Good ventilation and fresh air may help

The bishop and his senior advisors will continue to monitor data and network across the state and region with public health experts and other resource groups to our Diocese. Data reports will continue to be shared with our pastors on a regular basis.

COVID-19 Task Force offers strong recommendations for safety

The Diocese of Sioux City COVID-19 Task Force met with Bishop Nickless earlier this week and reviewed current data as it pertains to the spread and impact of COVID-19 and the current dominant Delta Variant. Following the meeting, the bishop maintained or amended the following protocols and has issued the following recommendations.

Until Further Notice:

No Sign of Peace during Mass Remains

Communion – Single Form of Communion under the Species of Bread Only Remains

The use of hand sanitizer during the distribution of Communion after the Eucharist is received on the tongue is rescinded and is no longer mandated. 

  • Hand sanitizer should be applied by priests, deacons and the laity prior to the general distribution of the Eucharist and following the completion of general distribution to the congregation.
  • Pastors / Parishes are advised to regularly speak to the issue and print materials (bulletins, etc.) on the proper reception of the Eucharist by hand and by mouth in order to show the appropriate reverence to the body of Christ and limit contact during Communion distribution.
  • Pastors should continue to strongly urge their faithful to receive the body of Christ in their hand (understanding it is their right to receive via their mouth).    

It is strongly urged for ALL people to wear a mask for all indoor parish liturgies and events for ages 2 and above.

It is strongly urged for ALL clergy and laity to wear a mask while distributing Communion.

Parish events

Parish meals / events / meetings, etc. are NOT cancelled.

Technology, such as Zoom and other virtual platforms should be considered, but are not mandated, for parish meetings if positivity rates for COVID-19 are high or are rising in your area.

Considerations

  • Distancing should be considered where possible.
  • Masks for indoor parish events are strongly urged.
  • Questions or concerns about food distribution or preparation should be directed to your county Public Health Office for local protocols.
  • Carry-out meals are safer then eating in.
  • For eating in - outdoor seating is better then indoor seating when possible.
  • Increase table and chair spacing when possible.
  • Good ventilation / fresh air always helps.

The bishop and his senior advisors will continue to monitor data and network across the state and region with public health experts and other resource groups to our Diocese.  Data reports will continue to be shared with our pastors on a regular basis.

Mask Up

Practice Social Distancing

Wash Your Hands

Get and Promote Vaccinations

The task force noted in their statement, "As always we strive for PROGRESS not perfection."

Cutline: Masking is highly recommended for inside liturgies and parish events, such as this Maycrowning at Holy Trinity Parish in Fort Dodge.

Protocolos y Recomendaciones Actualizados

El grupo especial diocesano de COVID se reunió con el Obispo a principios de esta semana y revisó los datos actuales en lo que respecta a la propagación y el impacto de COVID-19 y la actual variante dominante del Delta. Después de la reunión, el Obispo mantuvo o enmendó los siguientes protocolos y ha emitido las siguientes recomendaciones.

Hasta nuevo aviso:

No habrá el Signo de la Paz durante las Misas

Comunión – Seguirá de forma únicamente bajo la especie de pan. 

El uso de desinfectante de manos durante la distribución de la Comunión después de que la Eucaristía se recibe en la lengua se rescinde y ya no es obligatorio.

  • El desinfectante de manos debe ser aplicado por sacerdotes, diáconos y laicos antes de la distribución general de la Eucaristía y después de la finalización de la distribución general a la congregación.
  • Se aconseja a los sacerdotes / parroquias que hablen regularmente del tema  e impriman materiales (boletines, etc.) sobre la recepción adecuada de la Eucaristía en la mano y por la boca para mostrar la reverencia apropiada al Cuerpo de Cristo y limitar el contacto durante la distribución de la Comunión.
  • Los sacerdotes deben continuar instando fuertemente a sus fieles a recibir el Cuerpo de Cristo en su mano (entendiendo que es su derecho a recibir en su boca).    

Es altamente recomendado a TODAS las personas de 2 años en adelante, usar un cubrebocas durante todas las liturgias y eventos parroquiales.

Es altamente recomendado aTODOS los  clérigos y laicos usar un cubrebocas mientras distribuyen la Comunión.

Eventos Parroquiales

Las comidas parroquiales / eventos / reuniones / juntas, etc. NO serán canceladas.

La tecnología, como Zoom y otras plataformas virtuales, debe considerarse, pero no es obligatorio, para las reuniones parroquiales si las tasas de positividad para COVID son altas o están aumentando en su área.

Consideraciones

  • Considerar el distanciamiento, siempre que sea posible.
  • Se recomienda el uso de cubrebocas para los eventos parroquiales.
  • Las preguntas o inquietudes sobre la distribución o preparación de alimentos deben dirigirse a la Oficina de Salud Pública de su Condado para los protocolos "Locales".
  • Comidas: se recomienda sean para llevar a casa.
  • Para reuniones que servirán comida…... se recomienda sea al aire libre cuando sea posible.
  • Aumente el espaciado entre las mesas y las sillas cuando sea posible.
  • Una buena ventilación / aire fresco siempre ayuda.

El Obispo y sus asesores continuarán monitoreando los datos y la red de información en todo el estado y la región con expertos en salud pública y otros grupos de recursos para nuestra Diócesis.  Los informes de datos continuarán siendo compartidos con nuestros sacerdotes regularmente.

Póngase el Cubrebocas

Practique el Distanciamiento Social

Lávase las Manos

Vacúnase y Promueva la Vacunación

Como siempre nos esforzamos por PROGRESAR, y no por la perfección.