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The Iowa Department of Public Health reported Wednesday 11,588 new positive cases in the past seven days.

The number of new COVID-19 infections remains on the rise in Iowa as state health officials are reporting more than 11 thousand new cases have been confirmed in the past week. Nearly 30 percent of the new cases are reported to be in children 17 and under.The state is reporting 578 Iowans are currently hospitalized with the virus. That’s the same number as last week. And 78 percent of those hospitalized are not fully vaccinated. About 87% of ICU patients are not fully vaccinated. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 62 percent of Iowans 12 and older are fully vaccinated. And all 99 of Iowa’s counties have high levels of community spread.

https://isea.org

Just hours after a federal judge blocked Iowa’s law banning mask mandates, the Sioux City Community School Board agreed vote on the issue. It will take place tomorrow at 3 p.m., instead of noon.

Board vice-president Monique Scarlett put forth the motion, saying the mask mandate could help stop the spread of the very contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

School Superintendent Paul Gausman agreed that it was time to bring back face coverings, but some students and staff are likely to be exempt for health reasons.

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Covid 19 cases and vaccinations are slowly rising in Woodbury County. As of facebook posting on Wednesday, Siouxland District Health said for the week beginning August 30th, there were 287 new cases of COVID-19 in Woodbury County, and a positivity rate of 13.2 percent. There were 17 people hospitalized in Siouxland due to covid 19 and the vaccination rate is at 43.4 percent. 

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The US Department of the Treasury will meet with Woodbury County residents online on Monday, Sept. 13, to discuss how federal funding guidelines could impact the proposed use of federal coronavirus funds. Some Woodbury County residents say they want to highlight possible issues with how the Board of Supervisors allocates funding to leadership in the Office of Recovery Programs.That’s after receiving over 250 letters from local residents about funding related to the American Recovery Program.  Several of them registered their concerns with how the money is being used to build the new law enforcement center. Many have also spoken out at both Sioux City Council and Woodbury County Supervisor meetings. Reaffirmed spending guidelines are expected to come out of the US Treasury as early as next week. Residents say they are concerned that these funds should be spent on projects and programs more closely connected to the Covid pandemic. There are also concerns that county residents will have to pay back the federal funds if the funds are misused. 

Sioux City has been awarded for its response to housing needs during the coronavirus. The City of Sioux City Neighborhood Services Division has been selected as the 2021 COVID-19 Housing Response award winner by the Iowa Finance Authority.  Staff were presented with the award today at the Housing Iowa Conference in Cedar Rapids.  

The  City was awarded for the new Neighborhood Services Division Outreach Office, as well as the emergency shelter program which provided temporary housing in hotels to those experiencing homelessness. The award recognizes "an initiative that was implemented in immediate response to needs created due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 Developers will be able to build 36,450 new housing units to help address Iowa's growing shortage. That's because Iowa is allocating $100 million of its federal coronavirus relief funding to build new homes in the state.  Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that today at the housing conference. The money comes from The American Rescue Plan Act funding. That is being added to more than 230 million dollars the Iowa Legislature allocated over five years to Iowa's tax credit programs.The 100 million dollars will be split among several existing programs, plus a new pilot program to improve housing access for minority groups. 

 

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As the rate of new COVID-19 infections remains high in Iowa, the state's top health official says they are working on more rapid testing options. 

As the spread of the virus remains high across the state, demand for COVID-19 testing has skyrocketed.

Interim state Department of Public Health Director Kelly Garcia says testing is widely available across the state. But the department is seeing some issues for those who need rapid testing.

 

Former President Donald Trump will hold a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Oct. 9, a source familiar with his plans confirmed to the Des Moines Register. In an August radio interview, Trump said that he planned to return to Iowa for a rally, but he did not announce any further details at the time.

The former president's return to the first-in-the-nation caucus state is likely to stoke speculation about whether he'll again seek the White House in 2024. Trump has left the door open to another campaign.

His potential Republican rivals aren't waiting for Trump to announce his intentions. Many possible presidential contenders have already begun visiting Iowa to hold fundraisers for local candidates and attend party dinners.

Des Moines Register/Mediacom, Iowa Poll in June showed Iowans were evenly split on Trump, with 49% saying they had a favorable view of him and 49% saying they had an unfavorable view.

A pilot and his passenger emerged unharmed after their small plane crashed Monday near Kingsley. The Plymouth County Sheriff' says the crash happened at about 3:12 p.m., approximately five miles east of Kingsley and near Plymouth County Road C-66 and Tamarack Avenue. The plane was upside down inside a cornfield. The pilot and passenger were the only two people on board. Their names have not been released.

The crash site has been secured pending an FAA investigation. South Dakota's governor says the national guard troops deployed to the border with Mexico will be on the way home later this month. Kristi Noem thanked the guard member in a Facebook post.  The guard troops encountered more than 6,00 individuals crossing the border.

The ACLU of Iowa and disability rights groups are suing state officials in federal court to overturn a statewide ban on school mask mandates.

ACLU attorney Susan Mizner  says many disabled students have chronic conditions that make the coronavirus a severe health threat. But she says they still have the right to learn in-person, and to ask classmates to wear masks as the CDC recommends.

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The surge in coronavirus cases in Iowa and an increasing number of critically ill patients  has raised concerns about having enough beds, and health care providers. While Iowa’s hospitals are not as full as they were this past fall, the latest spike has officials worried. On Wednesday, UIHC reported 41 COVID-19 admissions, including 36 adult patients and five pediatric patients.

State officials say they’ll start updating Iowa’s coronavirus data website three times a week, instead of once a week.

The Iowa Department of Public Health changed from daily to weekly reporting in early July, and officials say the move followed other states in the region and the CDC’s data reporting at the time. 

Director Kelly Garcia says the situation has “evolved,” and she’s hearing that Iowans want to know more. 

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts today said the state is working to manage hospital staffing issues, including again setting up a transfer center so that patients could be moved based on hospital availability, according to WOW TV. 

Last week, the governor declared a staffing emergency for Nebraska hospitals.  Nebraska officials said the state was partnering with Nomi Health to help patients in need of a transfer to a hospital in the state. That service is expected to be operational on Saturday. 

CDC

The number of COVID-19 cases in Nebraska has increased in each of the past ten weeks, and the total nearly doubled over the past two weeks as the highly contagious delta variant of the virus continues to spread.

Nebraska reported around 5,000 new cases last week to the CDC.

That’s up from the previous week and nearly double the cases recorded the week before.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska has risen over the past two weeks from 190 new cases per day on Aug. 15 to more than 715 new cases per day on Sunday.

2017 Dan Moore Campaign

Sioux City Mayor Pro Tempore Dan Moore tells Siouxland Public Media he filled his nomination petition for city council today.

Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill says if more than six people file for three open seats, there will be a primary on October 5th, otherwise a combined city/school election will take place countywide on November 2nd.

Pete Groetken says he will not seek a third term on the city council. Alex Waters seat is also up for reelection. He told Siouxland Public Media he plans to run for reelection.

Courtesy of woodburycounty.gov Edit | Remove

Every person in Iowa, vaccinated or not, should wear a mask when in public indoor spaces because of the level of spread of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  Iowa’s COVID-19 cases have increased steadily since late June, with the state adding 1,992 cases in a single day this week, according to New York Times data. That total, on Wednesday, was the highest the state has recorded since 2,478 cases on Jan. 6, as reported by Iowa Capital Dispatch. Daily gains were much more significant at other points in the pandemic. For example, in November, some days topped 4,000 cases.

Iowa Democrats are calling on Republican Governor Kim Reynolds to allow schools to follow CDC guidelines and require students and teachers to wear masks. Reynolds signed a new law in May that prohibits mask mandates in schools.

House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst of Windsor Heights cautions against districts defying that law. She pointed to bills in the last legislative session that targeted Des Moines schools for violating state guidelines.

Siouxland is reporting lower positivity and hospitalization rates this week due to COVID 19. Yesterday, Siouxland District Health reported the positivity rate is almost 7%, with only three hospitalizations due to COVID only at Sioux City Hospitals.

However, the number of people vaccinated increased by about point-six (.6) percent. South Dakota is again seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases and 43% more hospitalizations. Almost 400 more South Dakotans have tested positive for COVID-19, with one more death recorded. 

CDC

Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in Nebraska as the highly contagious delta variant continues to spread, but those reported totals may be undercounting the actual number of cases because the number of tests being performed each day is down significantly compared to last fall.

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

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After roughly a half-year of precipitous decline, new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been increasing sharply over the past two months, according to state public health data.

The 214 Iowans hospitalized with COVID is roughly quadruple what it was two months ago, and the highest since April. And the rolling, two-week average of daily new cases is seven times higher than it was just more than six weeks ago. That state data is now updated only once per week, instead of multiple times daily, under a recent change made by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

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The University of Nebraska has announced updated coronavirus protocols in response to a rising number of cases in the state and guidance from the CDC.  All vaccinated faculty, staff, students and visitors to its campuses are encouraged, but not required, to wear face masks indoors. Unvaccinated people should continue to wear masks. Masks are required indoors for all people at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. University officials strongly recommend vaccinations for everyone affiliated with the university, but won’t require them.

UnityPoint Health announced today it will require its more than 33,000 team members to be vaccinated against COVID-19.The three-state health system also continues to urge all eligible individuals to get their COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. MercyOne Medical Center announced that all staff would need to be vaccinated in early July.

A teenager has been sentenced to 50 years in prison for the shooting death of a woman at a New Year’s Eve party in Sioux City. Eighteen year old Anthony Bauer of Sioux City, was sentenced this morning after he plead guilty in June to second-degree murder, according to television station KTIV. In his plea, Bauer admitted that he and others fired several shots into a home where people were gathered for a New Year’s Eve party, killing 18-year-old Mia Kritis and wounding three others.

The National Weather Service issued an Air Quality Alert for northwest Iowa through this afternoon. The wildfires near Lake Winnipeg, Canada, drifted southward and will move through Sioux Falls and the Sioux City area. There were six out-of-control fires near Lake Winnipeg in Canada as of noon yesterday, with the biggest measuring more than 300 square miles. Those sensitive to smoke or with existing health conditions could experience health effects due to the smoke.

National Weather Service/Sioux Falls

A Siouxland Sheriff’s office is mourning the death of one of its own.

The Burt County Sheriff says Deputy Justin Smith passed away yesterday after a battle with COVID-19.

Deputy Smith has been a member of the Burt County Sheriff's Office and since 2008. He also served as the Police Chief of Decatur, Nebraska. 

The Burt County Board of Supervisors has requested that all flags in the county be lowered to half-staff.

National Weather Service/Sioux Falls

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds called new revised guidance from the CDC surrounding wearing masks “not grounded in reality or common sense.”

Reynolds issued a statement shortly after the CDC recommended fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas of the country where the virus is circulating widely.

She still encouraged people to get vaccinated, but went on to say she’s concerned the guidance will be used as a vehicle to mandate masks in states and schools, something she does not support.  

Leaders of national and Nebraska teachers unions are pushing back on critics of critical race theory and defending curriculum based on it. They accuse opponents of trying to prevent teaching kids the truth about racism in America. The National Education Association adopted a statement of support for CRT at a nationwide virtual gathering of teachers that included more than 80 Nebraska representatives.

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