NEWS 9.24.21: Grassley Runs Again, SD C19 Deaths, Vaccination Boosters, and More

Sep 24, 2021

Credit Associated Press

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says he will seek an eighth term in 2022.

The 88-year-old announced his reelection plans this morning on Twitter. 

Credit Twitter/Sen. Chuck Grassley

“Hey, there I am running for reelection. It’s the right thing to do for Iowa."

Grassley has been in the Senate for 40 years and is the longest-serving Republican senator. The announcement was welcomed by Republicans and gives them more confidence in holding the seat as they fight to overtake Democrats' one-vote margin in the Senate. Grassley waited much longer than usual to announce his reelection plans so he could weigh the obvious factor of his advanced age. Should he win reelection, Grassley would be 95 at the end of his term.

A state commission will submit a report to the Iowa Legislature that indicates Iowans who offered an opinion support the first set of maps drawn by a nonpartisan state agency.

A majority of the five-member Iowa Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission supported Thursday a statement in their report to lawmakers that says the commission acknowledges that a majority of Iowans who expressed an opinion to the commission favor Iowa’s redistricting process and the first proposed redistricting plan.

Two Republican appointees to the commission preferred to leave out language about Iowans who spoke or wrote in supporting the first plan but three members agreed it was accurate and stated the facts and should be included. The Legislature is scheduled to meet on Oct. 5.

A man critically injured in a shooting in downtown Sioux City this afternoon. Police say it happened just after three near 2nd and Nebraska after a dispute between two groups of people.

The South Dakota Department of Health reported Friday that 10 additional people with COVID-19 in the state died, the largest single day's number since Feb. 11 for a total of 2,025 deaths.

The department also reported almost 600 new positive infections.

The Argus Leader reports occupied hospital beds by COVID-19 positive patients decreased to 190, but 64 of those were receiving intensive care and 43 were on ventilators.

As of Wednesday, 61% of the state was fully vaccinated for coronavirus, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Woodbury County, 44.5% of residents have been fully vaccinated. There was an increase of .6% in a week, that’s 600 more people. Woodbury County is about 10% behind the state rate.

The Deputy Director of Siouxland District Health Tyler Brock tells Siouxland Public Media says the younger the person, the less likely they are to be vaccinated. Also, people from minority communities tend to have lower vaccination rates as well, but analysis has not been done recently. The health department’s focus is to make the vaccine as available as possible so people can get it when they are ready.

The CDC is recommending a booster for some vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, including individuals working in high-risk jobs and settings. Individuals need to wait at least six months after their last shot. Health officials say people who should get a booster are 65 years and older, residents in long-term care settings, and those with underlying medical conditions.  

Siouxland District Health says vaccine supply is good and is available throughout Woodbury County at medical providers offices, pharmacies, and the Siouxland District Health Department.

Hy-Vee announced free Pfizer booster doses at pharmacy locations across an eight-state region.

News release from Siouxland District Health:

In an effort to strengthen protection for people most likely to have severe COVID illness, CDC is now recommending a booster for people vaccinated with Pfizer vaccine.  CDC is also recommending a booster for individuals working in high risk occupational and institutional settings.

Here are the details that are known at this time regarding this recommendation:

·      The recommendation only applies to people who received Pfizer vaccine at this time. Moderna and Johnson/Johnson vaccine are being evaluated and a similar recommendation is expected in the next few weeks.

·      It must be at least 6 months since a person completed their initial series of Pfizer vaccine.

·      The following people SHOULD get a booster:

o   People 65 year of age and older

o   Residents in long-term care settings

o   People aged 50-64 with underlying medical conditions (examples of these medical conditions include cancer, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, dementia, Down syndrome, heart conditions, overweight and obesity)

·      The following people MAY get a booster:

o   People aged 18-49 with underlying medical conditions

o   People aged 18-64 who are at increased risk due to where they work or live (such as institutional settings)

·      Individuals can self-report that they are eligible under these recommendations.

Vaccine supply is good and is available throughout Woodbury County at medical providers offices, pharmacies, and Siouxland District Health Department.

The owners of a defunct biogas plant in northeast Nebraska have agreed to pay a $1.1 million fine to the state and federal governments for repeated violations of environmental rules. Big Ox began operations in September 2016, separating solids from industry wastewater to create methane. The plant sold the methane and injected it into a nearby natural gas pipeline. Big Ox was subject to odor complaints soon after it began operations and was cited for numerous environmental violations until it shut down in 2019. The EPA says that at times the company allowed liquid wastewater to overflow from its plant and at times Big Ox discharged methane at levels that could be flammable.