Northwest Iowa — The four northwesternmost Iowa counties have seen a net increase of four cases of COVID-19 again in the 24-hour period ending at noon on Thursday according to the latest statistics from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Sioux County had an increase of three cases for a total of 212. Lyon is unchanged at 19 and O’Brien is unchanged at 27. Osceola County is up one case at 32 cases.

Again, these numbers are raw numbers and do not take into account how many people have recovered.

No deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in these counties.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report (5/27/2020):

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 119, unchanged
Cherokee 24, up 1
Buena Vista 700, up 21

State officials have now confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 among workers at a meatpacking plant in Storm Lake. Iowa Department of Public Health deputy director Sarah Reisetter made the announcement late Thursday morning at the governor’s news conference.

Clay 13, unchanged
Dickinson 16, up 3

Minnesota counties:
Jackson 39, unchanged
Nobles 1496, up 8
Rock 22, up 1

South Dakota counties:
Minnehaha 3317, up 17
Lincoln 237, up 1
Union 88, up 1

In order to give you an idea of the density of cases, here are some selected numbers adjusted for population — given the number of cases actually in a county — the following are the numbers of cases there would be if the population of the county were 100,000 residents.

As far as regional hot spots, Buena Vista County has now surpassed Minnehaha County, South Dakota in the density of cases, but the density of cases in both of those is still much less than in Nobles County, Minnesota. Nobles County tops the list with a density of 6917 per 100,000. Next is Buena Vista County with 3522. Next is Minnehaha, with 1717.

In the four northwesternmost Iowa counties, Sioux County tops the density list at 607 per 100,000. Osceola is next with 530. Next is O’Brien County with 195, and Lyon County reports a density of 161.

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — High school students from across Iowa are invited to a virtual event this weekend that might help them chart a career path.

The Future Career and College Fair is being held Sunday and features more than 70 colleges, universities, and career resources from across Iowa and across the U-S. Brittania Morey, spokeswoman for ICAN — the College Access Network for Iowa, is helping organize the online gathering.

(As above) “It’s a single event that can help a student explore all of their options,” Morey says. “We start with career assessments. We have business and industry exhibitors who can talk about what career options are available and what, as employers, they expect. And we have education and training exhibitors, registered apprenticeship programs, military academies, and colleges and universities to talk about all of their different programs.”

Last year, the event attracted about two-thousand students and their parents but by going virtual, Morey expects the draw to be much larger.

(As above) “Normally, this would have taken place at the end of March in Cedar Rapids. We did push it back to the end of May, hoping that we could hold it in person,” Morey says. “It’s now switched to virtual and that really opens it up to any student in the state. We probably wouldn’t have had western Iowa students drive across the state to attend a physical fair in Cedar Rapids but now they have the opportunity to attend virtually.”

The online experience is designed to offer the same face-to-face connections as the in-person event, just through a screen from the comfort of home. Each exhibitor will have a virtual booth complete with webcam and audio features, so students and parents can chat with the representatives.

(As above) “It is a little harder to catch someone’s eye, so what we’ve done is create a scavenger hunt that we will provide to all of the registered students that will get them to explore booths that maybe they wouldn’t have initially thought to stop at,” Morey says. “The idea will be to get them to talk with a multitude of exhibitors and not just the ones they initially thought they might be interested in.”

The free event will be held Sunday from 1 to 3 PM. To attend, students need to register at www.icansucceed.org/icrfuture-student.

May 27, 2020 - 4:26 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa (RI)– Governor Kim Reynolds is removing more pandemic-related restrictions. Casinos, amusement parks and bowling alleys may reopen June 1st — but at 50 percent capacity.

(as said) “In communities across the state, there are signs life is starting to get back to normal,” Reynolds says. “The most welcome one of all is the ‘We’re Open’ sign hanging in the windows of local businesses.”

Last week, Reynolds announced bars, breweries and wineries will be able to reopen Thursday at 50 percent capacity. Tuesday she announced both bars AND restaurants may allow groups of up to 10 to sit together, starting this Thursday. The previous limit had been six at a booth or table. Many of the governor’s sports-related limitations — on practices, games and competitions — are also being lifted on June 1st. There can be spectators, but Reynolds says social distancing guidelines must be followed.

(as said) “Extended families and friends can gather together,” Reynolds says, “but that privilege comes with responsibility of ensuring you’re doing the right thing to protect your health and the health of the people you care about.”

Crowds will be allowed to watch car races, too, starting Monday, June 1st. Outdoor performance venues for events like music concerts may reopen next month — but at half capacity.

(as said) “Many of the other public health measures for businesses that have already reopened will remain in place, and businesses that remain closed will continue to be closed through June 17th,” Reynolds says. “I will continue to evaluate in the coming weeks whether any of these measures should be adjusted further.”

As for whether some closures might be restored, Reynolds says she and her staff will continue to monitor virus activity in the state, to understand the scope of outbreaks.

(as said) “If we see any type of a surge that might impact our ability to take care of Iowans, those with COVID-19 symptoms and those without, then that could potentially be a point where we would have to say: ‘Do we need to take a look at what’s happening here? Do we need to take additional actions?'” Reynolds says, “but for the most part, all of the indicators we’re looking at and monitoring when we look at trends, it’s positive.”

Reynolds is setting up a call with the Iowa State Fair Board this week to discuss their plans for the 2020 State Fair, which is currently scheduled to begin August 13th.

(as said) “I know they’ve been trying to wait to see how Iowa responds to our continuing to open up our economy,” Reynolds says, “and so we’ll have an opportunity to visit with them this week and see if I can answer any questions that they may have and really listen to them and see what they’re considering as they’re moving forward with making a decision.”

Minnesota’s 2020 State Fair was canceled last week. The Missouri State Fair is scheduled to begin on the same day as the Iowa State Fair. Missouri officials say they’ll make an announcement in early to mid-June about what their state fair will look like.

May 27, 2020 - 4:09 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Eviction and foreclosure proceedings may resume in Iowa this Thursday. Governor Kim Reynolds declared a moratorium in mid-March, to prevent people from becoming homeless during the first of part the pandemic.

Reynolds says the Iowa Finance Authority is planning to help some of the Iowans who will now face the loss of their home or apartment.

(As above) “The program applies to residential evictions and foreclosures and will be available to eligible Iowans who’ve experienced a documented loss of income due to COVID-19 and are unable to pay their rent or mortgage payment,” Reynolds says. 

The governor plans to use some of the pandemic relief money the state got from the federal government for this program. Eligibility details will be released Thursday.

(As above) “We anticipate it being ready for Iowans on Friday,” Reynolds says.

In other news, the governor is no longer encouraging Iowans to limit the size of gatherings to 10 or less. Iowa Department of Public Health deputy director Sarah Reisetter says Iowans should wear face masks when social distancing is not possible.

(As above) “We know this is a difficult time and Iowans need to continue to be responsible in taking care of their own health as well as protecting the health of our communities,” Reisetter says. “I appreciate the governor’s regular reminders that as Iowans, we need to be accepting of one another’s choices and our individual decisions and needs.”

The governor is allowing casinos and amusement parks to open on June 1st. Outdoor sporting events may resume, with crowds of spectators who are properly socially distanced.

Sioux Center, Iowa — State officials have confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks at Perdue Farms pork processing facilities here in northwest Iowa. A company spokesperson says the testing was conducted on May 4th and 5th. On May 11th, Perdue Farms announced 425 workers had been tested and fewer than 20 percent tested positive.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, 69 workers at the Perdue Farms plant in Sioux Center tested positive and tests confirm another 20 workers at the company’s plant in Sioux City have had the virus. Hogs are slaughtered at the facility in Sioux Center and the Sioux City location is the processing plant for ALL the company’s pork products. Jim Perdue, chairman of family-owned Perdue Farms, issued a video statement on May 7th about the pandemic.

(As above) “We are supplying masks and protective gear to our associates and government inspectors in our plants as well as any essential personnel who enters our facilities,” Perdue said. “…We have increased our already stringent cleaning and sanitation protocols and we are physically altering our production plants and running at reduced speeds to facilitate social distancing.”

Perdue Farms is based in Maryland. The company’s website indicates it owns plants throughout the country that process poultry, pork, lamb and beef.

Sheldon, Iowa — Krull Cinema’s Main Street 3 in Sheldon and the Holland Plaza Cinema in Orange City are opening up the vault and bringing back the classics when the theaters open this Friday, May 29th.

Aaron Krull, owner of Krull Cinemas in Sheldon and Orange City tells us what will be playing at the Sheldon Main Street 3

And he tells us the movies that will be playing at the Holland Plaza Theater

New to Krull Cinemas, adults can enjoy some new beverages

With many people enjoying theater popcorn from Krull Cinemas, he says you can still stop by and grab some anytime the cinemas are open.

You can find the movie times for this weekend by clicking HERE

Northwest Iowa — The four northwesternmost Iowa counties have seen a net increase of four cases of COVID-19 in the 24-hour period ending at noon on Wednesday according to the latest statistics from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Sioux County had the only increase. They are up five cases for a total of 209. Lyon is unchanged at 19 and O’Brien is unchanged at 27. Osceola County is actually down one case from the number reported yesterday, at 31.

Again, these numbers are raw numbers and do not take into account how many people have recovered.

No deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in these counties.

As far as density of cases, Sioux County is now at 602 cases per 100,000, Osceola is at 513 per 100,000. Lyon remains at 161 and O’Brien remains at 195 per 100,000.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report (5/26/2020):

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 119, up 1
Cherokee 23, up 5
Buena Vista 679, up 426

Governor Kim Reynolds was asked if there’s an outbreak at a food production facility in Storm Lake — and she said nothing was confirmed at that time.

Clay 13, up 3
Dickinson 13, up 4

Minnesota counties:
Jackson 39, unchanged
Nobles 1488, up 10
Rock 21, unchanged

South Dakota counties:
Minnehaha 3300, up 11
Lincoln 236, up 3
Union 87, up 1

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — We’re told social distancing helps save lives, but a new report finds isolation and loneliness can hurt the health of people over age 50 — and Iowa has one of the nation’s oldest populations.

Doctor Juliann Sebastian, dean of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, says a solitary lifestyle, void of healthy interactions with friends, can mean a higher risk of depression, heart disease and even death.

(As above) “Social isolation and loneliness are each separately associated with health problems — with health outcomes,” Sebastian says, “but together there are correlations between social isolation and loneliness and various causes of mortality or death and various causes of morbidity or illness.”

Data from the U-S Census Bureau finds almost 15-percent of Iowans are 65 or older, the fifth most in the nation, while nearly three-percent of Iowans are 85 or older, the third most in the country. Loneliness is not a one-size-fits-all type of problem and Sebastian says we all need to keep a closer eye on our family, friends and neighbors.

(As above) “Social isolation and loneliness don’t fit in neatly within our typical health care environment. Those are not typically considered clinical issues,” Sebastian says. “In fact, they really are because of their connection with specific physical and behavioral health outcomes.”

One goal of the report is so that health professionals of all types, as well as direct care worker, know that we should strive to identify people who have problems with social isolation and loneliness.

(As above) “Not every older adult has these issues and not every person, for example, who lives alone is lonely,” Sebastian says. “We do think it’s very important in the clinical environment for health professionals to assess older adults and determine if these are issues of concern to them and then to connect with people and community organizations that can help.” 

More research is needed, she says, to determine some of the most helpful ways to intervene. Sebastian says it’s “stunning” to become more aware of the associations between social isolation and loneliness and health problems — and even mortality.

(As above) “We all need to be, I think, on the alert for someone who might be lonely and find ways to help,” Sebastian says. “Whether it’s ourselves helping or making a connection, with again, with a community organization that can help.”

The report says for people who are homebound, have no family, or do not belong to community or faith groups, a medical appointment or home health visit may be one of the few social interactions they have. Sebastian serves as dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing in Omaha.

 

Hawarden, Iowa — A stove ventilation hood was damaged in a fire on Friday, May 22, 2020, in Hawarden.

According to Hawarden Fire Chief Duane Schiefen, about 1:45 p.m., the Hawarden Fire Department was called to the report of a house fire at 1112 Avenue F in Hawarden.

The chief says the fire was in the ventilation hood above the home’s stove, and they were able to put it out using only a fire extinguisher.

Schiefen says no injuries were reported.

The Ireton Fire Department is always called along with the Hawarden firefighters to structure fire calls in Hawarden.

He says the cause of the fire appeared to be an electrical short or other malfunction in the hood.

Chief Schiefen reports that the damage was basically limited to the hood.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene for only a few minutes.

Northwest Iowa — The four northwesternmost Iowa counties have seen a net increase of twenty-one cases of COVID-19 since Friday until noon on Tuesday, according to the latest statistics from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Lyon County reported no change and a total of 19. Sioux County is up 16 cases at 204. O’Brien County is up three at 27. And Osceola County is up 2 at 32.

Again, these numbers are raw numbers and do not take into account how many people have recovered.

No deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in these counties.

As far as density of cases, Sioux County is now at 584 cases per 100,000, Osceola is at 530 per 100,000. Lyon remains at 161 and O’Brien is at 195 per 100,000.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report (5/22/2020):

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 118, up 16
Cherokee 18, up 8
Buena Vista 253, up 113
Clay 10, up 1
Dickinson 9, up 1

Jackson 39, up 2
Nobles 1478, up 46
Rock 21, up 1
Minnehaha 3289, up 78
Lincoln 233, up 15
Union 86, up 13

So in our region, that’s 315 more cases since Friday. That’s a daily average for the Memorial Day weekend of about 79 cases per day. The daily average in the previous week had been around 57 cases per day.