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Newscast 01.29.22:New COVID-19 Cases Down in Iowa, Hospitalizations Stable; Gov. Kim Reynolds Touts Grant to Lewis and Clark Regional Water System; Portion of Sioux City Skywalk to Close for Repairs

COVID-19 Hospitalizations in Iowa
COVID-19 Hospitalizations in Iowa

New COVID-19 numbers and the governor visits northwest Iowa Friday

Iowa health officials are reporting a drop in the state’s COVID test positivity rate as hospitalizations remain stable.

The state’s 14-day test positivity rate was reported at 24 percent today down from 25.2% on Wednesday. It had been trending upwards for the past month. 928 Iowans are reported to be hospitalized with COVID-19.

That’s nearly the same amount as Wednesday and marks a decrease of about 30 hospitalizations from last Friday.

Nearly 57 percent of all Iowans are fully vaccinated against the virus.

The state of Iowa today awarded up to $12 million dollars to expand the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System in northwest Iowa.

Governor Reynolds made the announcement this morning at Sioux Center’s water treatment plant and on her Facebook page.

“Dependable, sustainable drinking water is the cornerstone of economic growth and prosperity, This is doubly true in communities like this one that depend on water for agricultural industries.”

The Lewis and Clark Regional Water system first broke ground almost 20-years ago to provide water for communities in the Tri-state area. The project is 86% compete and is awaiting federal funding to finish. Reynolds says this new boost will help provide 15 million more gallons of water per day to Sioux Center and nearby towns.

A member of the Iowa House says he is planning an event that could feature one of the country’s most outspoken and controversial critics of the COVID vaccine. That is Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Kennedy is the nephew of President John F. Kennedy.

Republican Representative Jon Jacobsen of Glenwood, has been working on a bill that would prevent employers from asking about an employee’s vaccination status. Jacobson said the main aim of the bill he’s working on is to address privacy issues.

Jacobsen says and he hopes to have what he calls “an evidentiary hearing” on the legislation. Kennedy has founded a group that campaigns against vaccines in general. Some of Kennedy’s prominent relatives have publicly criticized him for spreading “dangerous misinformation. His own wife publicly criticized him this week for making a reference to Nazi Germany during an anti-vaccine mandate rally.

The Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court says she would like to see more programs that encourage lawyers to live and practice in rural Iowa. Christensen is a Harlan native who still lives in Shelby County.

Christensen tells Radio Iowa that people talk about helping doctors and dentists pay off student loans if they practice in rural communities, but no one thinks about lawyers until they need a lawyer.

Briar Cliff University announced this week it is adding a new doctorate in occupational therapy. The first students will enroll in the summer 2023. The program aims to provide inter-professional, occupation-centered and community-conscious education that is inclusive and student centered, according to a press release announcing the new addition Wednesday.

Both the occupational therapy program and the physical therapy program will be located at Briar Cliff’s Mayfair site, where both programs will also provide service through the university’s pro bono clinic.

The section of skywalk system between Ho-Chunk, Inc. and the Heritage Parking Ramp in downtown Sioux City will be closed from February 2 to February 16. During that time, the city will work upgrades to the mechanical systems, ductwork, ceiling system, and lighting.