face masks

Siouxland News CBS14/FOX 44

Community leaders joined forces to stress the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine, especially among younger populations.

“Many times Siouxland has found itself in a leadership role with initiatives across the state at this point we are lagging. I encourage everyone out there listening to get this vaccine.”

That is the Executive Director of Siouxland District Health, Kevin Grieme, who was also joined by Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott at a news conference in front of the Sioux City Public Museum on August 11, 2021. 

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.

UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's

The number of COVID-19 cases is on the rise in Iowa and Siouxland. Siouxland Public Media reached out to one of the local experts, Dr. Michael Kafka, he Medical Director for Quality and Patient Safety at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s in Sioux City to hear his take on this increase, delta variant, vaccine rates, masks, and more.

As of late last week, Kafka says Sioux City’s two major medical facilities are treating patients in the single digits.

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.  


As of this morning, students, teachers, and staff in the Sioux City Community School District and across the state are no longer required to wear masks. That action was taken to comply with a law passed last night by the Iowa legislature in the final hours of this year’s session.  Early this morning, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill that prohibits mask mandates in Iowa schools. 

Siouxland District Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported no new deaths due to complications of COVID-19 and about 170 new cases, with two more in Woodbury County. The 14-day test positivity rate in Woodbury County is 6.1%

Siouxland District Health announced plans for the next large-scale vaccination clinic on April 27th at the Siouxland Expo Center. The clinic’s hours from 4:15 until 6:30 p.m. are geared toward people who need appointments outside regular business hours. The appointments are open now and available for anyone 16 years for their first dose.

Community advocate and anti-violence movie producer Cindy Waitt has worked behind the scenes to help with the COVID-19 Pandemic through the Kind World Foundation. 

Earlier this month, the Governor of Iowa ended the mask mandate in the state of Iowa. A move Waitt calls psychological abuse. She shares her thoughts with Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer.

Bernie Scolaro

West High School Counselor Bernie Scolaro talked to SPM's Sheila Brummer about her personal battle with COVID-19 and thoughts on school safety.

Scolaro has worked at West High School for more than 20 years and also spent time at Bishop Heelan Catholic Schools and at Catholic Charities as a counselor.  She is the current Vice President of the Siouxland Uniserv Unit for teachers and is the Past President of the Sioux City Education Association.

Today, President-elect Joe Biden has tapped former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack for a second stint as the U.S. Agriculture secretary. Vilsack served eight years as Agriculture secretary under President Barack Obama. Vilsack has been a longtime supporter of Biden and he campaigning for the former vice president on farm and rural issues in the 2020 presidential campaign.

The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting an additional 99 COVID-19 deaths and an additional 2,246 confirmed cases. Some of the deaths are from earlier in the pandemic as the state's numbers undergo methodology changes. Also, COVID-19 deaths can take up to a week to be reported on the state's Coronavirus.Iowa.gov website. Siouxland District health says today there have been 103 cases added to the total case count in the last 24 hours. Woodbury County is still experiencing significant community spread of COVID-19

MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center and UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s are reaching out to the business community to ask for their help in combatting COVID-19. The hospitals say they have experienced the highest number of COVID-19 patients since the beginning of the pandemic. The hospitals are asking business owners to require employees and customers to wear a mask to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in our community.

And UnityPoint plans to raise the minimum hourly wage of its workers to $15 an hour.
The pay increase goes into effect in January. The employees most likely to see their pay go up as a result of this change are those who work in housekeeping, food service, nursing assistance and other clinical support roles, central supply and patient access associates, among others.


Deaths in all three Siouxland states due to complications of COVID-19 continue to climb.

Nebraska saw 62 during a 24-hour period and 2,000 additional cases.

There were almost 1,300 additional cases in South Dakota as the state moves closer to reaching the 1,000 mark for deaths.  Forty-seven more people have died from the illness, one of the highest single-day death tallies since the pandemic began.

The CDC says last week the Rushmore State had the highest per capita death rate in the nation.  There have been 995 deaths.

UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's

The number of hospitalizations due to the novel coronavirus continue to rise in Sioux City.  Siouxland District Health reported a total of 91 patients with 65 patients battling COVID-19 alone on November 13, 2020.  The two facilities are four patients away from the level experienced in late May.

Siouxland Public Media reached out to both UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s and MercyOne for comment on increases this week.

MercyOne orginally sent out the same statement released on November 2nd when there were 9% fewer patients. 

Facebook/Gov. Pete Ricketts

Gov. Pete Ricketts announced new restrictions on Friday after a surge of new cases and hospitalizations in Nebraska.

“It’s pained me to put restrictions on people’s personal liberty and businesses. But, it was necessary to be able to preserve hospital capacity.”

Statewide there are more than 320 hospitalized with COVID-19.  That’s 40% more than May, during the peak of the pandemic.

“Remember all the steps we have taken is to preserve hospital capacity with 30% of hospital beds, 29% of ICU beds and 70% of ventilators.”

youtube/City of Sioux City

The Sioux City council took action surrounding COVID-19 and face coverings.  As Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer reports, they wish more could be done as local health officials track an increase in cases.

The Sioux City Council strongly recommends citizens wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Last week, a group of concerned citizens presented a petition asking the council to take action with a resolution for a mask mandate.

Council members say their hands are tied with the state when it comes to a mandate. 

Associated Press

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed an executive order this morning restoring voting rights to felons.

“This is a cause so many Iowans worked on for years.  It boils down to our fundamental right for redemption and second changes.”

Iowa was the only state banning felons from voting, unless they appealed directly to the governor.

The order applies to people who have completed their sentence, including probation and parole.

404 News 07.27.20

Sioux City Transit passengers will be required to wear protective masks or face coverings on buses, beginning Wednesday and continuing until further notice.

Also, while passengers are in the bus or at city facilities, they will be asked to practice social distancing as much as possible.

Also by Wednesday, Sioux City officials have decided to require masks or face coverings while in city buildings. 

504 063020

Governor Kim Reynolds says Iowa school officials who mandate that everyone in a school building must wear face masks need to now seriously consider how to implement that policy.

State guidelines released last week for reopening Iowa’s K-through-12 schools said face coverings could be allowed, but it will not be a statewide mandate. 

Newly posted guidelines from the Iowa Department of Education have a list of considerations about face masks. During a news conference this morning, the governor said schools must define appropriate use.

062620 404

Iowa and Woodbury County saw some fairly large upticks in COVID-19 cases today.  Woodbury County has 17 new COVID-19 cases, with a total of 3,112 and 43 deaths.  Iowa has nearly 500 new cases and 701 deaths.  

At a news conference his afternoon, Kevin Greime director Siouxland District Health, said he was disappointed with those numbers, and the reluctance of some people to wear face masks.

  Woodbury County today has 17 new COVID-19 cases, with a total of  3,112 and 43 deaths.  Iowa has nearly 500 new cases and 701 deaths.