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Newscast 06.15.22: Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and wife test positive for COVID-19; Iowa COVID cases decline slightly

Pete Ricketts
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts (R)

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19. The Republican governor revealed the development in a brief statement issued Wednesday morning and said both he and his wife, Susan, “are experiencing very minor symptoms." The statement said both will self-isolate in accordance with guidelines issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A spokesman for Ricketts did not immediately respond to questions about when the governor tested positive or how long he and his wife plan to isolate.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Iowa increased even as the number of new reported cases decreased from the previous week. according to data released today by the Iowa Department of Public Health and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Weekly covid deaths
Weekly Iowa COVID-19 Deaths and Cases, 06/15/22

One-hundred and eighty-six people were hospitalized with the disease in Iowa as of today, and the federal health department reported an increase of 19 from the week before. Of those, 25 were in intensive care units for COVID-19 complications.

Newly reported COVID-19 cases, meanwhile, decreased to nearly 40000 this week, or about 570 new cases throughout the state each day, on average.

The Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls is in the process of vaccinating its most susceptible animals against the coronavirus. A global animal health company, Zoetis, has developed an experimental vaccine for COVID-19 and is working with zoos across the country to distribute its limited supply to vaccinate the most at-risk species as soon as possible. Great Plains veterinary staff worked closely with zookeepers to deliver the first dose of the vaccine to many of the species considered at risk, including primates and large cats. Zoo officials have administered 57 vaccine shots in just over a week. All animals that received the first dose, will get a second dose in about three weeks.

The owners of Rapid City hotel are facing a lawsuit over a social media post by one of them that promised to ban Native Americans from the property. The lawsuit comes from a shareholder who happens to be a relative of the family that owns the Gateway Hotel. Judson Uhre recently filed a lawsuit in Pennington County against his mother, and his brothers, as well as the company that operates the hotel, Retsel Corporation.

Judson is alleging a breach of fiduciary duty, shareholder oppression and interference in the hotel’s operation.

Governor Kim Reynolds has approved a tax break for the aircraft industry. The state sales tax on parts for planes and on the labor to maintain and repair aircraft will no longer be charged after July 1. During House debate in April, Representative Lee Hein of Monticello said none of the states that surround Iowa charge the sales tax on parts and labor for planes. Community colleges in Sioux City and Cedar Rapids plan to start aircraft maintenance programs. Representative Chris Hall of Sioux City said it will spur more activity at Iowa’s community airports.


Bill backers said those job opportunities will spur enrollment at community colleges in Council Bluffs, Ottumwa and Waterloo that offer aircraft maintenance courses, so students can get FAA certification.

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