Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts (R)

Siouxland District Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health added 94 additional deaths due to complications of COVID-19, including one more in Woodbury County.

The deaths happened between late August and early October for a total of 6,748 since the start of the pandemic.

The number of positive tests in the last seven days continues to fall, down 8% since Monday.

Iowa’s test positivity rate dropped to 9.2%.  However, the positivity rate in Woodbury County is 17% with most cases in younger people according to Siouxland District Health.

Facebook Video/IA Gov. Kim Reynolds

Nine Republican Governors, including Kim Reynolds of Iowa, visited the U.S.-Mexico border today.

“Joe Biden has done absolutely nothing to confront this self-inflicted crisis,”

Also, in Mission, Texas, Wednesday, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem stayed behind to focus on wildfires hitting the western portion of the state. 

The group urged the President to take action against illegal immigration.

During a news conference today, Reynolds also spoke about concerns over unaccompanied children being moved around the country.

The lawyer representing Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds in a federal lawsuit over mandatory mask use in schools has asked the judge to allow a temporary order that has allowed schools to implement mask mandates to expire next week. In its documents made public Monday, the state cited testimonials from mothers of school-age children who make unproven assertions that masks can harm children. The state provided testimonials from three women who said their children have medical issues that makes mask wearing difficult for them.

CDC

A federal judge has ordered the state of Iowa to immediately halt enforcement of a law passed in May that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Judge Robert Pratt said in an order signed Monday that the law substantially increases the risk of several children with health conditions of contracting COVID-19. Several parents with children that have various medical conditions sued the state.

Governor Pete Ricketts/Facebook

Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts enacted a hospital staffing emergency in the state. Ricketts says the problem does come from a list of issues: staff shortages, COVID-19 cases, and other illness, including RSV.

Starting on Monday, the state will limit some elective surgeries and waive licensing to try and boost the number of heath care workers. Some facilities already paused elective surgeries to preserve hospital capacity.

However, Ricketts says he is still against mandating masks in schools or enforcing vaccine passports.

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

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory today for the entire state of Iowa, most of South Dakota and a large portion of Nebraska.

The heat advisory is in effect until 9 p.m. for Siouxland with a heat index near 110.

Governors from all three Siouxland States slam the CDC’s announcement on Tuesday urging both vaccinated and nonvaccinated people to wear masks due to a surge of cases of COVID-19.

The CDC also advises children in schools wear masks this fall.

The governors of tri-state region talked about the need to train workers and fill jobs in the post-pandemic era, today at Tri-State Governors' Conference. the conference in the South Sioux City Marriot on the Riverfront. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem talked about possible ways to fill high-demand jobs.

Governor Ricketts said Nebraska is focusing on career pipeline that starts in middle school, to a career academy and post-secondary education the apprenticeship program.

Siouxland Public Media

Governors from all three Siouxland States spent the day at the Tri-State Governors’ Conference. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem met at the Marriot Riverfront in South Sioux City.

The event hosted by the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce focused on shortage of workers in the region and addressed the impact of COVID-19.

Governor Reynolds was then scheduled to tour the Arena Sports Academy in Sioux City.

Cities across Iowa will have a month to decide what to do with a windfall of federal money coming their way over the next two years, thanks to the pandemic relief bill passed by Congress in March.

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced today that 930 cities with less than 50,000 population are eligible for $220 million distributed by the Iowa Department of Management. The cities can use it for water, sewer, and broadband investments, enhance pandemic preparedness, or launch programs that directly support workers and small businesses.

The money is in addition to the $1.5 billion the state receives over the next two years from the American Rescue Plan Act. A dozen larger cities, including Sioux City and Council Bluffs, are drawing down their own allocation of $339 million in federal money, according to the National League of Cities.

Iowa Department of Public Health

COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations continue to fall throughout a large portion of the state of Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Public Health on Monday added no new deaths due to complications of the illness with around 30 new cases. There have been 6,114 deaths during the pandemic. Almost one-and-a-half million are fully vaccinated.

Hospitalization have fallen to 54 patients, that is the lowest since the end of March 2020.

The 14-day positivity rate is 2% statewide, and the seven-day positivity rate is 1.9%.

Associated Press

Nebraska and South Dakota closed state offices today to honor the new Federal Juneteenth Holiday. 

However, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has not said anything about Juneteenth. The state started recognizing the holiday in 2002, however, state workers do not get a paid day off.

However, Reynolds did sign a pro-police measure into law yesterday. It includes heightened criminal penalties for certain protest activities.

Sioux City native Shelby Houlihan yesterday received some bad news. It looks like she now has very little chance of competing at the U.S. Olympic trials today.  Her chances diminished sharply late yesterday when the country's Olympic committee said it would follow all antidoping rules, and USA Track and Field received long-awaited official notice of her suspension. 

Earlier this week, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld Houlihan's four-year ban for testing positive for trace amounts of a performance-enhancing drug. She blamed her positive test on a pork burrito she ate 10 hours before a test in December. Contaminated meats have led to positive tests in other cases, many of which have been dismissed.At first, the USATF said would not bar the American record-holder at 1,500 and 5,000 meters from running in today's preliminary heats until she had exhausted every appeal. However, later on, yesterday, the USATF was said it would take Houlihan off the start lists since it had received official word from the Athletics Integrity Unit.  The unit conducted the test that led to the suspension, that Houlihan had been banned for four years.

Deliberations will resume Friday morning in the Mollie Tibbitts Murder Trial.

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:

CDC

The state of Nebraska plans to open up vaccinations for anyone 18 years or older starting on Monday, April 5th.

Governor Pete Ricketts made the announcement this morning during a news conference.

Ricketts expects additional doses to arrive through the Federal Pharmacy Program, including a big influx of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Ricketts plans to receive his vaccine this weekend.

pxhere.com

Iowa’s revenue forecasting panel is projecting state revenue will come in just shy of the level needed for more income tax cuts to kick in.

Revenue would need to grow 4 percent next fiscal year to trigger more income tax cuts in 2023. But the latest estimate from today is 3-point-8 percent growth, potentially pushing tax cuts to 2024 or later.

NPR/Getty Images

The Nebraska Department of Health reports the COVID-19 variant from the United Kingdom has been found in Siouxland somewhere in the counties covered by the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department. This includes the counties of Cedar, Dixon, Thurston, and Wayne. The variant is more infectious and could cause more severe illness.

Today is the one-year anniversary of the first positive cases of COVID-19 in the state of Iowa. Then were there three positive cases, since the start of Pandemic with more than 367,000 positive test results. There have been 5,559 deaths statewide and 214 in Woodbury County.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports one more death due to complications of COVID-19 and almost 140 positive cases, including eight in Woodbury County.

Associated Press

The Iowa Department of Public Health recorded three more deaths statewide due to complications of COVID-19 and more than 600 new positive test results, including 28 in Woodbury County.

The number of hospitalizations fell below 200 in Iowa. Sioux City’s two medical facilities saw a decrease of about 30% in patients with COVID-19. There were 15 yesterday and 11 today. The 14-day test positivity rate is up slightly to 6%.

Associated Press

South Dakota’s attorney general has been charged with three misdemeanors including careless driving after he hit and killed a man with his car. Jason Ravnsborg, a native of Cherokee, Iowa was charged today. Ravnsborg initially told authorities he thought he had struck a deer while driving home from a Republican fundraiser on September 12. Ravnsborg has said he didn’t know he struck a man until he returned to the scene and found the body the next day. The man’s relatives have questioned Ravnsborg’s account.

Iowa PBS

The Iowa Department of Health recorded 43 more deaths due to complications of COVID-19, including two more in Woodbury County. The state also added more than 600  new cases. The number of hospitalizations at Sioux City’s two medical facilities has doubled in a day to a dozen patients. However, that number is less than 10% of the record high of 108 set back on December 1st.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has announced the state will not move forward with plans to contract with Microsoft to build a centralized COVID-19 vaccine registration system.

Facebook/IA Gov. Kim Reynolds

Schools will have to offer in-person classes full-time under a bill signed this morning by Governor Kim Reynolds.

She signed the measure at the state capitol with parents who have pushed for in-person learning.

The law gives school districts until February 15th to transition to all in-person classes.

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.

Iowa has surpassed 200,000 coronavirus cases today, with 4,359 confirmed additional cases. Another 25 people with COVID-19 have died, according to the state coronavirus website,  coronavirus.Iowa.gov.

In Woodbury county, there have been 127 cases added in the last 24 hours. 
Siouxland District Health reports that there has been one additional death of an older adult female (61-80).

SPM News 404 11.13.20

The Sioux City Community School District this week has 11 reports of positive COVID-19 cases from students that attended school, and 21 reports of positive COVID-19 cases from staff that attended school.  The district moved several classrooms and one entire middle school to virtual learning this wee.  East Middle School and Sunnyside Elementary each had one classroom go virtual, Morningside STEM Elementary had two classrooms closed down, and West Middle School will hold only virtual classes through November 25, the day before Thanksgiving. 

304 News 111320

In Nebraska, Gov. Pete Ricketts today outlined new and tighter health restrictions that he plans to impose if COVID-19 patients fill 25% or more of hospital beds. 

If the number of patients hits that mark, he would limit indoor gatherings to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 25 people. He would close bars except for delivery and take-out, hold wedding and funeral receptions to the 10-person limit and postpone any elective surgery that can be delayed. 

The state of Iowa today is reporting more than 850 new cases of the coronavirus this morning and three new deaths.  Iowa has had more than 71 thousand cases of the virus and more than 12 hundred deaths.  Woodbury County Iowa reports 38 new cases of the cor0navirus and a total of 58 deaths, with no further deaths, and a total of over 44 hundred cases since the start of the pandemic. 

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