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NEWS 12.1.21

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More than 9 thousand new COVID-19 infections have been confirmed in the past week.

Eighteen percent were in children 17 and under.

The state’s 14-day test positivity rate was reported to be 11.2 percent on Wednesday. This marks an increase for the fifth week straight. The positivity rate in Woodbury County fell to 10.3%.

721 Iowans are hospitalized with COVID-19 -- an increase of nearly 100 hospitalizations from last week. There were 31 hospitalized with the virus in Sioux City, a drop of more than 10%.

In the past week, an additional 91 Iowans were confirmed to have died from COVID-19, including 5 more in Woodbury County. This brings the state’s total death count to 7,445.

Iowa public health officials have stopped requiring hospitals to report the home county of patients being treated for the coronavirus. That comes even as all of the state’s 99 counties have a high rate of spread and hospitalizations are at their highest level since early October. Iowa Department of Public Health spokeswoman Sarah Ekstrand on Tuesday confirmed the change in hospital reporting requirements. The change in policy was first reported by the Iowa Capital Dispatch. Ekstrand says the home county of patients is no longer needed to track virus activity because existing data on county-specific trends provides an appropriate understanding of disease trends. Iowa has 623 COVID-19 patients in the hospital and 146 in intensive care.

Former Husker coach and congressman Tom Osborne is urging all Nebraskans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is still a serious threat in Nebraska.”

The 84-year-old appeared in a new public service announcement by the Nebraska Hospital Association released on Wednesday.

“Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the right thing to do for all Nebraskans.”

The state’s hospital dashboard shows 555 hospitalizations, the most since early this year. Osborne says hospitals across the state at their limit.

“At those hospitals, those unvaccinated outnumber those vaccinated 11 to 1.”

Health officials say vaccinated people who end up in the hospital usually have compromised immune systems or other underlying health conditions.

Iowa State University Athletic Director Jamie Pollard has announced in an open letter to Cyclones fans his diagnosis of testicular cancer. In the letter released on the school's website, Pollard said his diagnosis began with groin pain about four weeks ago. After finding a lump and going to a doctor, Pollard said he underwent surgery last week to have the mass removed and learned a day later it was cancerous. Addition tests showed the cancer had not spread. Pollard decided to reveal the diagnosis after having to cancel a speaking engagement last week for 500 guests.

Governor Kim Reynolds says the U.S. Supreme Court has the opportunity to “right a historic wrong” as it considers a case that could lead to overturning the court’s 1973 ruling that legalized abortion.

Reynold's comments were made in a video recorded for an online forum sponsored by the Susan B. Anthony List, a group that opposes abortion.

The case before the U.S. Supreme Court revolves around a Mississippi law that bans abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. Reynolds is among 12 Republican governors who’ve signed onto a legal brief submitted to the court that argues Roe v Wade and another 1993 decision on abortion rights should be overturned.

The governor said previous U.S. Supreme Court rulings that upheld abortion rights disregarded state sovereignty.

Previous federal court rulings have established the concept of fetal viability at around 24 weeks, but the Mississippi case gives a new conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court the opportunity to let each state set the standard.

In 2018, Reynolds signed a bill into law that would have forbidden abortions in Iowa after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, at about six weeks into a pregnancy. The Iowa Supreme Court struck down the law, saying Iowa’s constitution guarantees women a fundamental right to an abortion.

Radio Iowa also reports leaders at Planned Parenthood of the North Central States say they’re developing a statewide campaign to educate voters that abortion rights are endangered. A recent Des Moines Register “Iowa Poll” found 57% of those surveyed said abortion should be legal in most or all cases and 38% said it should be illegal in most or all cases.

A pedestrian died after being hit by an SUV Wednesday morning on Sioux City's west side.

The man, who has not been identified, was crossing the street at West 4th and Bluff when he stopped to pick something up. He was then struck by a small SUV going east on West 4th.

The driver was a teen who said she could not see the man due to the sun. The man went to MercyOne where he died a short time later.

Sioux City Police are looking for people in a white pickup that stopped shortly after the crash but left before officers arrived.

A 10-year-old boy was hit and killed in Le Mars last night after investigators say Elijah Peters rode into the path of a car.

Former television news anchor Tiffany O'Donnell has been elected mayor of Cedar Rapids. O'Donnell garnered 68% of the vote to businesswoman Amara Andrews' 32% in Tuesday's runoff election. The runoff was triggered when no candidate reached a majority 50% of the vote in the Nov. 2 general election. O'Donnell will take office in January at the end of

incumbent Mayor Brad Hart's term. O’Donnell is a former news anchor for television station KGAN and is chief executive of Iowa-based women’s leadership group Women Lead Change.

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Sheila Brummer returns to her radio roots as a Reporter/Special Projects Producer for Siouxland Public Media KWIT-KOJI.