The University of Iowa


The number of COVID-19 infections remains on the rise in Iowa. That’s as cases across the country as a whole are on the decline.

According to the New York Times, the average rate of new cases nationwide has decreased by 33 percent in the past 14 days.

But in Iowa that 14-day rate has increased by 19 percent.


The number of COVID-19 infections remains on the rise in Iowa. That’s as cases across the country as a whole are on the decline.

According to the New York Times, the average rate of new cases nationwide has decreased by 33 percent in the past 14 days.

But in Iowa that 14-day rate has increased by 19 percent.

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.

Abby Finkenauer/Facebook

Iowa Democrat Abby Finkenauer is running for Republican Chuck Grassley’s U.S. Senate seat. The one-term former congresswoman hopes her blue-collar credentials will propel her forward in a state that has grown more conservative over the years.

The 32-year-old offers a stark contrast to the 87-year-old Grassley, who was elected to his first Senate term eight years before Finkenauer was born.

A 20-year-old Sioux City man admitted that he shot the shot that killed a woman at a New Year's Eve party. Christopher Morales pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder and three counts of reckless use of a firearm. Morales was originally charged with first-degree murder for the death of 18-year-old Mia Kritis. She was killed and three other people were injured when Morales and others fired into the house where the party was being held. Morales' 18-year-old brother is charged with first-degree murder in the case.

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Iowa’s governor is asking for a congressional investigation after unaccompanied migrant children were flown into Iowa without her office being notified. Governor Kim Reynolds and Tennessee’s governor are asking the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a public hearing about the movement of migrant children into states.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law putting new limits on government agency diversity trainings and school lessons related to racism and sexism.

The new law says trainings and lessons must not promote certain ideas, including that the US and the state of Iowa are systemically racist or sexist.

In a statement, Reynolds claims that “critical race theory” teaches kids to judge people based on their race or gender. She says, quote, “I am proud to have worked with the legislature to promote learning, not discriminatory indoctrination.”

Today the state of Iowa is reporting another 22 COVID-19 deaths and an additional 841 confirmed cases, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

At 10 a.m. today, the state was reporting 5,196 COVID-19-related deaths, according to the state's website. In Woodbury County, there have been 21 new cases added to the total case count in the last 24 hours and no further deaths. The 14-day positivity rate is 6.9%.

Iowa Department of Public Health

Iowa has reported nearly 3,000 new confirmed positive coronavirus cases in the last three days.

The state Department of Public Health reported 1,595 confirmed cases Saturday, another 915 on Sunday and 508 new confirmed cases Monday.

During that time, the department reported 13 more deaths from the coronavirus. There were 480 people being treated in Iowa hospitals for the virus, just below a record high set last week.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Siouxland


Seventeen more Iowans have died of complications of COVID-19 and more than 1,000 tested positive in 24-hours, including more than 90 new cases in Woodbury County. 

The 14-day positivity rate for Woodbury County is just under 15%.  Half of the dozen counties in the state above the 15% threshold are located in northwest Iowa.  Lyon has the top positivity rate in the state at 31%. Fifteen percent is the level set by the state to allow a school district to apply for on-line learning only, among other criteria.

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. 

Hinton Community School District

The Hinton Community School District is making changes after high COVID-19 positivity rates in Plymouth County.  A letter to families says the community is now seeing an increase.  Cases were previously seen on other parts of the county.

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Today, Gov. Kim Reynolds has closed all bars, breweries, and nightclubs in six Iowa counties with a coronavirus case spike.  

National Weather Service

A line of thunderstorms Monday morning sent high winds, along with some rain and hail, over eastern Nebraska and into Iowa, knocking down tree limbs and causing power outages.

High winds did blow down a few light poles on the campus of Western Iowa Tech Community College.

Sioux City public schools are set to open on August 24.  However, the surge in Coronavirus cases this week, teachers and parents are concerned about safety.

Nearly 700 new cases reported yesterday, and seven deaths. 

During an online forum last night focused on A Safe Return to Schools, 

University of Iowa Professor of Internal Medicine Dr. Eli Perencevich answered questions preventing the spread the virus in schools. 

Perencevich said he was disappointed that state leaders were not requiring all Iowans to wear masks in public and in schools. 

Iowa Department of Public Health

Health departments in the Sioux City metro report very few new cases of COVID-19.

There were no deaths.  The current total for Woodbury and Dakota Counties is 73.

Woodbury saw two additional positive cases, for more than 3,000 in all.  Dakota County recorded one more for more than 1,700.  Union County recorded 113 positive cases.

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Siouxland District Health said this morning that, so far there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Woodbury County.

At a news conference at Western Iowa Tech, Deputy director Tyler Brock was asked about the limited supply of tests for the virus.

“The focus is getting people tested who need it the most.  O.K.   Folks with mild system are going to be told they don’t need to be tested, ok?” 

Brock said he couldn’t put an exact number on tests conducted in Woodbury County.  But, says all have come back negative, so far.

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The governing body for Iowa’s three state universities is imposing new travel restrictions due to coronavirus.

The Iowa Board of Regents is immediately canceling all university-sponsored international travel for all faculty, staff, and students at Iowa, Iowa State, and UNI for 30 days, including Spring Break.

The board says faculty, staff, and students who are already out of the country, are being recalled if they’re in China, Iran, Italy or South Korea.

Mark Lowe, Director of the Iowa Department of Transportation Edit | Remove

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The director of the Iowa Department of Transportation is resigning at the request of the governor.

A statement from Governor Kim Reynolds’ office says she, quote, “has decided to seek a change in leadership as she continues to build her administration.”

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A new state program will mail free opioid reversal drug kits to anyone in the state. 

The drug involved is naloxone -- also known as Narcan.

Kevin Gabbert is the Opioids Initiatives Director at the state Department of Public Health, which has partnered with the University of Iowa to offer the program. 

He says a two-dose kit can cost as much as 150 dollars.

The Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa has a storied history of producing authors like Flannery O'Connor, Kurt Vonnegut, TC Boyle, and Jane Smiley.  The workshop is also known for its rigorous, and sometimes merciless, peer review process. University of Iowa Associate Professor of Journalism David O. Dowling describes this process, and the history of the workshop in his book, A Delicate Aggression: Savagery and Survival in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

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A trial has begun in Polk County challenging Iowa’s voter ID law.

lawyers for a Latino civil rights group and a college student say the law unconstitutionally infringes upon Iowans exercising their right to vote. 

Attorney Bruce Spiva (spy-vuh) says these provisions put burdens on the right to vote that outweigh any potential benefits. 

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Former Vice President Joe Biden is campaigning in Iowa today in his bid to take on President Trump in the 2020 election. Some other Democrats criticized Biden over the weekend for missing an event in Cedar Rapids attended by 19 candidates.

At his first campaign stop in Ottumwa, Biden said he didn’t want to miss his daughter’s birthday and granddaughter’s graduation.

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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is back at work after a trip to the hospital today.  Reynolds experienced chest pain earlier today and out of an abundance of caution went to the emergency room to seek medical care. The governor was seen by a physician. 

Her blood tests, chest x-rays, and electrocardiogram (EKG) test were all normal. She has been released from the hospital and is back working at the Capitol.  

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In-state students at the University of Iowa and Iowa State will be paying nearly four percent more in tuition costs beginning this fall.  The Iowa Board of Regents approved a proposed tuition increase for Iowa's public universities today.

Out-of-state students attending ISU would pay about 5-percent more, and at Iowa, they would pay about a percent more in tuition.

Base tuition levels at the University of Northern Iowa remained flat, to help UNI compete for students.

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The board that oversees Iowa’s public universities won’t consider new tuition rates at its meeting this week because lawmakers are still working out their differences on state funding. Iowa Senate Republicans are proposing less money for the regents than Republicans in the House and governor’s office.

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The governor’s proposed constitutional amendment to automatically restore felon voting rights won’t win approval from the whole Iowa Legislature this year that’s

after Republicans on a Senate committee declined to consider the proposal ahead of a statehouse deadline. 

One of Republican Governor Kim Reynolds’ top priorities this year is taking the first step in passing a constitutional amendment to restore felon voting rights after a person completes their sentence.

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Republicans on an Iowa Senate committee say they won’t consider the governor’s proposed constitutional amendment to automatically restore felon voting rights when a person completes their sentence. That effectively kills the proposal for this year.  

Senator Brad Zaun of Urbandale says there wasn’t enough support among his fellow Republicans on the committee to pass it.

This week on The Exchange, we talk with Iowa Third District Senate Candidate Todd Wendt of Le Mars. Wendt retired earlier this year after 17 years as the Superintendent of the Le Mars public schools. 

Cultural Continuum 10-06-17

Oct 6, 2017