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Newscast 08.24.22: COVID numbers "medium" for Woodbury County, hospitalizations up slightly statewide; Siouxland Expo Center to get a new name

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The Siouxland Expo Center

Federal officials are reporting a slight uptick in the number of Iowans hospitalized who have tested positive for COVID-19.

As of today (Wednesday), 264 Iowans are hospitalized with the virus. That’s up from 244 last week.

That’s as the number of reported positive COVID tests has dropped for the third week in a row, according to state figures.

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Iowa Department of Public Health COVID-19 Numbers

Nearly 59 hundred positive tests were reported in the past seven days. A decrease of more than 400 tests from last week’s count.

State officials confirmed an additional 25 deaths associated with COVID this week, bringing Iowa’s total death count to more than 99 hundred.

According to the Centers for Disease Control. 62 point 8 percent of all Iowans are fully vaccinated against the virus.

Woodbury County fell to a medium level of COVID-19 transmission, but the number of tests coming back positive for virus increased slightly.

The county saw a 4% increase in the number of positive COVID tests reported in the last seven days, according to the state's most recent COVID-19 report. The data, which was updated by the Iowa Department of Public Health on Tuesday, shows 226 positive tests, which is up from the 217 positive tests reported on Aug. 16.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID Data Tracker rates Woodbury County's community transmission level as medium. That level was calculated on Aug. 18 using data from Aug. 11 to 17.

Before the week is up, the Siouxland Expo Center will have a new name announced, according to the Sioux City Journal. OVG360, the group which oversees management and operation of the Tyson Events Center and the Orpheum Theatre, says the announcement will happen at 10:30 a.m. on Friday at the Expo Center with a ribbon cutting event to follow.

The 100,000-square foot multipurpose facility, which opened in Sept. 2020, houses the Sioux City Parks and Recreation Department and has hosted events such as the "Siouxland Home Show", "Jurassic Quest" and "Urban Scramble."

During a special meeting Monday, the Spirit Lake Community School Board voted unanimously to allow a limited number of staff members to carry firearms on school grounds, according to the Sioux City Journal.

Meeting minutes posted to the Spirit Lake Community School District's website state that the resolution allows Superintendent David Smith to select ten or fewer individuals to be armed with a firearm on school grounds for the lawful purpose of protecting students and staff as authorized in Iowa Code 724.4B (2) (a).

Those selected cannot be classroom teachers, according to the minutes.

Ten districts are starting the new school year with grants from the Department of Education to establish therapeutic classrooms. The ten districts to get grants this year are: Ballard, Bettendorf, Charles City, Coon Rapids-Bayard, Council Bluffs, Decorah, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, Monticello, Williamsburg, and Woodbine.

The Ed Department’s consultant for social-emotional-behavioral health, Barb Anderson, says these classrooms help students whose social, emotional or behavioral needs, interfere with their ability to be successful. “It’s a more intensive, supportive environment in which the students will learn new skills, and new coping strategies, to be able to have them return hopefully to their current educational environment,” Anderson says.

Anderson says the grant program was signed into law in 2020 as part of a statewide effort to increase mental health supports for children, youth, and families. She says the law has specific requirements for therapeutic classrooms. “And these include things like making ensuring that there are appropriately credentialed teachers for academic learning. Clear plans and clear criteria for students to be identified and referred to a therapeutic program involving families and the students,” she says.

Anderson says there also have to be clear plans for transitioning the student back into whatever less restrictive environments would be appropriate for that particular student. The ten districts to get grants this year are: Ballard, Bettendorf, Charles City, Coon Rapids-Bayard, Council Bluffs, Decorah, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, Monticello, Williamsburg, and Woodbine.

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