COVID-19

Sioux City Community Schools

  

The Sioux City Community School District’s Weekly COVID-19 report shows only one new positive case among teachers and staff and no students.  The district also released information about total cases and quarantines and those numbers show 19 students and 17 teachers and staff were out with the illness.  Nine staff members were in quarantine and 245 students. The school district started the first two weeks of 2021 in virtual learning and will go back to five days of face-to-face learning next week.

National Weather Service

A blizzard warning continues through six o’clock tonight for a majority of the Siouxland area.

Snow is still falling in some spots with brutal winds.

Travel is not advised in southwest Iowa according to the Iowa 511 website.

The National Weather Service out of Sioux Falls says "If you must travel today, be prepared for poor visibility and slick roads. Check the road and weather conditions before you go".

From the Woodbury County Engineering Department:

National Weather Service

Siouxland is gearing up for the second Blizzard Warning in three weeks.  The warning starts tonight at 6 and extends until 6 p.m. tomorrow.  The forecast calls for 3 to 8 inches by tomorrow afternoon, with wind gusts as high as 60 miles per hour.

On social media, the National Weather Service says the severity of the storm will depend on how much snow falls. If we see more than an inch on the group with additional blowing snow, conditions will be more significant, especially for portions of Iowa and Minnesota.

CDC

Nebraska plans to expand the next phase of its coronavirus vaccine campaign to include everyone 65 and older. Previously, the state had planned to vaccinate people 75 and older during the next phase, but the federal guidance on who should be vaccinated next changed this week.

That phase also includes essential workers who cannot work from home.

CDC

Woodbury County added two more COVID-related deaths in the past 24-hours for a total of 175 since the start of the pandemic. There were 46 additional cases. Siouxland District Health says mask up, keep your distance, wash your hands, stay home when sick, and avoid nonessential gatherings.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 10 more Iowans have died of the disease for more than 4,200 (4,232) and almost 1,900 additional cases for a total of 300,000 positive test results.

  Gov. Kim Reynolds is taking her annual Condition of the State address from day time to supper time.  She will break with tradition, by addressing a joint convention of the 89th Iowa General Assembly at the Iowa Capitol beginning at 6 p.m. tonight, rather than the typical 10 a.m. Siouxland Public Media will broadcast the speech live and a live stream of the speech will be available at kwit.org. Also, you can hear live reactions to the speech live on Siouxland Public Media as soon as Governor Reynolds is finished her address.  

State lawmakers returned to the Iowa Capitol today. Education, taxation, safety are the top priorities for 2021 Iowa legislature. And they were joined inside by more than 200 anti-mask protestors.

When Iowa lawmakers start a new legislative session in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic they will not be required to wear masks. That’s according to new protocols for lawmakers as they return to the Statehouse on Monday. 

A six-page memo sent out by Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver and Speaker of the House Pat Grassley does say social distancing should be practiced.  But, if an individual can’t do so, a face covering is recommended.  But, there is no mandate.

Woodbury Central School District

A northwest Iowa teacher has died of complications of COVID-19.

The superintendent of the Woodbury Central School District in Moville confirmed the death of 53-year-old Cherie Dandurand who first started in the district in 1991.

School was called off early yesterday after hearing the news of Dandurand’s death.

She taught middle school social studies.

Iowa has surpassed 4,000 coronavirus-related deaths, marking another grim milestone with its infection rate rising again and most people still months from being able to get vaccinated.

State health officials reported 61 additional deaths on Wednesday, pushing the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 4,060. Iowa had the 16th highest per capita coronavirus death rate, at nearly 127 deaths per 100,000 people, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

Dakota County Health Department

A grim update from the Dakota County Health Department today as officials recorded seven additional deaths due to complications of COVID-19 for a total of 65 since the start of the pandemic.  There were two new cases.

Siouxland District Health reports 42 new cases of COVID-19 in a 24-hour period in Woodbury County.  There have been 171 deaths and more than 12,400 cases with almost 90% recovered. 

The 14-day test positivity rate for Woodbury County is up again by almost a third of a percentage point to 15.8%. 

CDC

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports three more COVID-19 related deaths in Woodbury County on Monday for 171 since the start of the pandemic. 

In one week, Iowa added 247 deaths and more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases.  In Woodbury County, there were 17 additional cases and a 14-day test positivity rate of 15.5%.  That is up two-percent points from a week ago.

National Weather Service

Winter storm warnings and advisories are posted for all of Siouxland. Moderate to heavy snow could continue into tonight according to the National Weather Service.  Accumulations of 3 to 7 inches of snow expected, with higher amounts possible along with some drifting snow.

The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for parts of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Illinois.

By Tuesday morning, snow was so heavy in western Nebraska that Interstates 80 and 76 were closed in both directions after several accidents.

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service says an “impactful” winter storm is moving into the region Tuesday and Tuesday night.

Moderate to heavy snow is expected with 3 to 7 inches for Siouxland.

Because of the incoming winter storm, there have been snow emergencies issued for several Siouxland communities, including Sioux City, South Sioux, Dakota City, North Sioux, Hinton and Norfolk, Nebraska.

Heavy, wet snow will blanket much of the state tomorrow so forecasters recommend putting off travel plans until the winter storm has passed.

CDC

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported five more COVID-19-related deaths and almost 1,500 additional coronavirus cases in the state in a 24-hour period that ended on Christmas morning. 

There have been 3,744 deaths and almost 274,000 positive cases since the state of the pandemic.

National Weather Service

We are getting a “White Christmas” courtesy of a winter storm.

Blizzard warnings are posted for all of Siouxland due to snow, strong winds and bitter cold until 9 tonight. 

The weather is creating treacherous travel conditions.

The National Weather Service says Sioux City is expected to receive three inches of snow. But, some spots in the region could see 5-to-7 inches.

Because of worsening weather conditions, Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott issued a snow emergency.

IDPH

At a news conference Tuesday morning, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations are on the way down.  She credits extra restrictions issued for Iowans last month.  Reynolds urges the public to follow health guidelines, including avoiding gathering during the holidays.

Reynolds says more than 8,400 front-line health care workers have been immunized for COVID-19. Last week, state officials had hoped to receive 26,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Reynolds pointed to a planning error that caused an overestimate in the state’s allotment.

No new deaths were reported by the Iowa Department of Public Health in the past 24-hours that ended this morning at 10 a.m.  Six-hundred more Iowans tested positive for the virus.  Almost 3,600 Iowans have died, including two more in Woodbury County, for 159 deaths locally and 25 new cases.

Even though no deaths were added in Iowa today.  On, Sunday health officials recorded another 138 deaths due to the coronavirus.  The high death toll follows two days when no deaths were reported.

UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's

Even though the number of hospitalizations in Sioux City has fallen by more than half in the past two weeks, one local emergency room doctor says people still need to double down to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“It’s been very challenging with high volumes of COVID-19 patients who tend to stay in the hospital for longer periods of time and other patients as well.”

CDC

The Sioux City Community School District released a weekly report on COVID-19 cases and for the first time also listed students and staff in quarantine.

This past week, the report showed four students and six staff members tested positive for the virus.

One multi-grade classroom at North Middle was put into Emergency Response Virtual Learning.

Siouxland News/KMEG/FOX44

Sioux City’s two hospitals received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine today. 

This is audio from a live stream from Siouxland News KMEG 14-FOX 44 television on Facebook this afternoon of two veteran front-line health care workers getting their shots at MercyOne. 

Nurse, Mary Jones and the Medical Director for Emergency Medicine Siouxland Dr. Joe Liewer were the first two to get their shots.  Both have worked for more than 25 years at the hospital. 

Beth Hughes is President at MercyOne.

Associated Press

It’s unclear why Iowa will receive fewer doses of coronavirus vaccine than initially promised by the federal government.

But the state is moving ahead with plans to relax restrictions beginning Thursday even while reporting nearly 100 additional deaths.

The Iowa Department of Public Health released a statement Wednesday evening saying the state’s allocation would be reduced by up to 30%.

The statement noted distributions were also being lowered to other states. The agency didn’t explain why the allocation would be smaller.

12.16.20
Iowa PBS

Gov. Kim Reynolds has announced she is easing some restrictions in response to the decreasing number of new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. Though these rates are still far higher than the first peak in the spring.

TYSON

The family of a 65-year-old Iowa man  is suing Tyson after he died of COVID-19 while working at the company's pork plant in Storm Lake. Michael Everhard, of Fonda, died June 18, three weeks after he contracted the virus. His family contends in a lawsuit that Tyson didn't implement proper safety precautions to protect Everhard and other employees from the virus. Several Tyson executives at the plant are also named in the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of Everhard's three children.

Sioux City Community Schools

The Sioux City Community School Board took action to try and slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep students and staff safe.  Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer with a wrap-up of last night’s meeting.

The Sioux City Community School Board unanimously voted Monday night to return to hybrid learning after Winter Break on January 4, 2020. 

The district started the first two-weeks with students either attending class on Monday-Thursday or Tuesday-Friday.

pxhere.com

The Sioux City Community School Board meets tonight and the issue of education during the COVID-19 pandemic will be a likely discussion.

Two board members sent the superintendent a letter last week calling for more transparency in reporting COVID-19 cases.  They believe they’re not seeing the full picture when it comes to absentee rates due to virus-related quarantines.

“There’s more doubt from what we are hearing from teachers and parents.” 

pxhere.com

The debate continues on K-12 education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iowa’s Governor wants to keep students in class.  A recent survey teachers in the Sioux City Community School district showed only 10% wanted to continue with in-person learning.  Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer explores the issue with a couple of long-time educator, union leader and school administrator.

Lesa Banks

Trying to keep students educated during this age of COVID-19 has been a strain.  A strain for young people, their families, educators and staff in school districts across the region and here in Sioux City. 

Lesa Banks, a long-time art teacher in Sioux City, serves as a liaison for the local teachers’ union and the Iowa State Education Association as an exeutive board member for Siouxland Uniserv. Banks tells Siouxland Public Media teachers would rather have students in school but safety should be the highest priority.  

Iowa PBS

Iowa’s governor says she wants to keep students in class during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would encourage parents to talk to educators, talk to school board and let’s get kids back in school.”

Governor Kim Reynolds made her statements during a news conference this morning.

Reynolds says scientific evidence shows children up to the age of 10 are less likely to become infected and most positive cases in schools are from staff members who were likely infected from outside the classroom.

coronavirus.iowa.gov

Iowa started tracking the COVID-19 deaths of people who were diagnosed with the virus but not tested, a change that could add hundreds more deaths to the state's count.

Iowa now accepts clinical diagnoses from doctors and not just positive virus tests when attributing a death to coronavirus.

The change removed 433 deaths from the system but added 610, providing an initial net gain of 177 deaths and raising the state's toll to more than 2,900. Some of the removed cases could be added back in.

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