COVID-19 Vaccine

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State health officials are reporting more than 12 thousand new COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the past week as the spread of the virus remains high across Iowa.

More than a quarter of the new cases are reported to be in children 17 and under.

And 81 additional Iowans have been confirmed to have died from COVID-19 in the past week. This brings the total death count to 6,482.

The state is reporting 638 Iowans are currently hospitalized with the virus. That’s the high number of hospitalizations reported so far this year.

Firefighters have contained a wildfire which burned southwest of Sturgis, as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally continues. The U.S. Forest Service says crews will continue to patrol and mop up following containment of the Kirk Hill fire. Smoke is expected for the next several days. The fire burned approximately 80 acres. No structures were lost in the fire and no evacuations were orderd at the

A public meeting is scheduled this afternoon to address homelessness in Sioux City. The gathering at City Hall scheduled for 1:15 comes after a protest at last week’s City Council Meeting surrounding the removal of a homeless camp near 4th and Wesley Parkway.

The information gathered will be shared with the Inclusive Sioux City Advisory Committee who will then provide recommendations to the City Council on ways to improve current practices.

Education leaders in South Dakota say that as the new school year approaches the state doesn’t have enough teachers and support staff, a situation they attribute to the coronavirus pandemic.

The State Education Secretary says every school district in South Dakota is dealing with staffing shortages with several teachers deciding to retire earlier than planned due to COVID-19.

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Iowans will no longer be able to use a state website to check their own vaccination histories or those of their children. The change comes amid national controversy over whether employers should be able to require workers to get a coronavirus vaccine and a state law banning use or government issuance of "vaccine passports, according to the Des Moines Register. 

Iowa Department of Public Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports no additional deaths due to complications of COVID-19. 6,072 Iowans have died since the start of the pandemic, with 229 in Woodbury County.

There were more than 40 new cases statewide with two more in Woodbury County.

The 14-test positivity rate locally is just under the statewide rate of 2%. This shows low community spread.

Most Northwest Iowa counties declined new vaccine allotments this past week, as demand for the vaccine is apparently beginning to fall below supply. 

Woodbury, Sioux, Ida, Sac, Lyon, Clay, O'Brien, Buena Vista, Dickinson and Crawford counties all declined some or all new vaccine shipments from the state this past week. In all, 43 of Iowa's 99 counties turned down vaccine supply -- twice the number of counties that declined new vaccine the week prior. 

Associated Press

Statement from Sioux City Police Department Surrounding the Derek Chauvin Murder Trial:

With the verdict coming in, a few of you have reached out with some questions about possible protests here. As of now, we have no intelligence indicating that any protests or demonstrations are planned locally. As such, we have not altered any schedules or moved any people in anticipation of any protests. We do have plans in place should something come up but again, we are not enacting those plans at this time.

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Gov. Kim Reynolds says the temporary pause in the use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine should be manageable for Iowa.

Reynolds says the one-dose vaccine accounts for a small portion of its weekly allocation due to manufacturing issues. The governor got the J&J vaccine on March 4. 

In the meantime, Reynolds urged Iowans to seek out the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and keep an open mind while the state waits for further federal guidance.

Associated Press

Health officials in all three Siouxland states have temporary stopped use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, following CDC and FDA recommendations. This move comes after six women experienced severe and rare blood clots, resulting in one death. One case was diagnosed in Nebraska.

Health officials in South Dakota say no adverse cases were reported in nearly 16,000 doses of the J&J vaccine.  More than 78 thousand doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in Iowa.

News release from the state of Nebraska:

Siouxland District Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health shows no new deaths due to complications of COVID-19. There were 146 new cases including four new cases in Woodbury County in a 24-hour period. The 14-day test positivity rate locally is 6.2%. That is down almost one percent in one week.

A person “associated with” the Iowa Senate has tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to an email from the secretary of the senate, that person was last in the Iowa Capitol on Wednesday and tested positive Saturday.

Iowa Democrat Rita Hart announced today she is withdrawing her challenge to U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks' election in Iowa's 2nd Congressional District, according to the Des Moines Register. 

Hart had asked the U.S. House to review the outcome, which was decided by a razor-thin margin of six votes. A district-wide recount showed Miller-Meeks won the race by just six votes out of nearly 400,000 cast, the tightest margin of any U.S. election since 1974. A bipartisan state panel certified the results in January. 

Vaccine navigators are now available for Iowans with barriers to scheduling a vaccine appointment on the phone. People who do not have internet access are 65 and older, or 64 and younger with an underlying health condition can now call 211 or (800) 244-7431. A vaccine navigator will assist them with scheduling a vaccine appointment. Translation services are available.

 

Unemployment in metro Sioux City inched down to 4.1% in February. Employers added 100 non-farm jobs, according to state data released by the state Tuesday.

The jobless rate in Sioux City Metropolitan Statistical area, which includes Woodbury and Plymouth counties in Iowa, Dakota and Dixon counties in Nebraska, and Union County in South Dakota -- fell slightly from 4.3% in January, according to Iowa Workforce. Iowa’s unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%.

Iowans who have not yet filed their 2020 individual state income taxes now will have more time. The Iowa Department of Revenue announced yesterday it had extended the filing and payment deadline to June 1 for 2020 individual returns and first-quarter estimated income tax payments for individuals.

The state's extension comes after the U.S. Treasury also lengthened the time for individuals to file their federal taxes — although those are due May 17, sooner than Iowa's new deadline.

 

The next Woodbury County public COVID-19 vaccination clinics will take place Tuesday, April 6th, and Thursday, April 8th at the Siouxland Expo Center in Sioux City. Appointments will be open to all residents age 16 and older who need their first dose of vaccine. Clinics will be using the Pfizer vaccine, which is approved for use in individuals age 16 and older. You can register online at the Siouxland District Health Department website at siouxlanddistricthealth.org  beginning at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow. 

A new poll shows that fewer than one-third of Iowans now support the Legislature's push for an amendment that says the state constitution does not secure a right to abortion. The Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature is working this year to approve the amendment.

Since last month, Siouxland District Health Department has been holding mass vaccine clinics at the Tyson Events Center in downtown Sioux City. But the department’s health director said activities there have picked back up. But Parks and Recreation Director Matt Salvatore says that’s not a problem at the Siouxland Expo Center. 

 

During the day we’re not as busy with activities. So it fits into our schedule perfectly. It looks like we’re going to host four during April. 

 

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Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds offered a prayer today for the family, friends, and coworkers of two members of staff Tuesday at Anamosa State Penitentiary. At her weekly news conference today, Reynolds also asked people to be patient and respectful of the families as officials continue investigating what happened. Department of Corrections officials will hold a news conference about the incident at 3 p.m. today at the prison.

 

Vaccinations continue in Iowa as the Iowa Department of Public Health reports another nine COVID-19 deaths and an additional 404 confirmed cases today. In Woodbury County, there have been 25 new cases added to the total count in the last 24 hours. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced yesterday that all adult Iowans will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination starting April 5. During her weekly news conference, the governor said so long as vaccine supplies from the federal government keep up with demand, she expects all Iowans to be eligible for the vaccine. 

Iowa Department of Public Health

Two Siouxland-area health departments have now disclosed cases of the UK variant of the novel coronavirus.

The director of Siouxland District Health confirmed one case of the variant was reported to health officials in Woodbury County at the beginning of March. No other cases have been recorded.

Meanwhile, the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department coverage area recently saw its first case. The health department covers the counties of  Cedar, Dixon, Wayne, and Thurston.

Iowa Department of Public Health

A local advocate for the immigrant community says there is concern people who speak other languages are not hearing factual updates about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Becky Carlson is the Executive Director of the Mary J. Treglia Community House in Sioux City. 

“There is a lot of rumors, and misinformation that is floating around for everybody because everything is so confusing. We just want to make sure people get access to that information.”

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The state health department reports nearly 5 thousand additional deaths in 2020 compared to previous years' numbers. This number could be another indicator of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on Iowa.

According to preliminary data, Iowa had more than 35 thousand deaths reported in 2020. That's higher than the past four years when that number hovered around 30 thousand deaths per year.

 

304 031121 On Thursday, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported 19 additional COVID-19 deaths and a further 412 confirmed cases.The department says in Woodbury County, there have been 31 new cases added to the total case count in the last 24 hours. Woodbury County has a 14-day COVID-19 positivity rate of 6.4 percent, which was unchanged from yesterday. Another Crawford County resident has succumbed to the novel coronavirus, according to state statistics.As of 1 p.m.

This week on The Exchange, a report on the aquittal in the nationally-watched story of Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Suhouri.  Sohouri was pepper sprayed and arrested this summer at a Black Lives Matter event in Des Moines.  She was accused of disobeying a police order.  The trial in Des Moines lasted three days. 

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Jurors have acquitted an Iowa journalist who was pepper-sprayed and arrested by police while covering a protest.  Critics have derided the case as an attack on press freedom and an abuse of prosecutorial discretion. 

A jury found Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri not guilty on misdemeanor charges of failure to disperse and interference with official acts. It also acquitted her former boyfriend, Spenser Robnett, of the same charges, which carried the threat of fines and even jail time. 

The verdict came after a three-day trial in Des Moines.

Ho-Chunk Capital

A big economic development from Ho-Chunk Capital today. The company finalized purchase of several businesses on historic Fourth Street in Sioux City from the Aalfs family. This includes the Aalfs main office building, Buffalo Alice, Antiques on Historic Fourth, M’s on 4th and SoHo.

Ho-Chunk plans to preserve and renovate several buildings and create new opportunities for commercial and residential tenants.

IDPH

The state of Iowa plans to launch a new website tomorrow to provide more information on how to get COVID-19 vaccines.

However, the Governor stressed during a news conference today Iowans will not be able to schedule an appointment on the site www.vaccinate.iowa.gov.

The state also plans to reach out to older Iowans in need of finding a vaccine. Starting on March 8 they will open a 211-call center to answer questions and help with scheduling.

Winnebago Public Health Department

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 15 more Iowans have died from COVID-19 complications. More than 700 tested positive in 24-hours, including 26 more in Woodbury County. The positivity rate for Woodbury County increased about a 1/3 or a percentage point for a currently level of 5.4% over 14-days.

Associated Press

South Dakota House lawmakers have begun impeachment proceedings against the state’s attorney general, who is facing misdemeanor charges for striking and killing a man with his car. Republican lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a resolution in the House to impeach Jason Ravnsborg, the state’s top law enforcement officer. He has indicated he will not heed calls to resign. The Republican attorney general faces three misdemeanor charges in the September death of 55-year-old Joseph Boever. It will require a simple majority to advance the impeachment charges to the Senate.

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