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3,365 New COVID-19 Cases, 47 New Deaths Reported Wednesday

Daily Digest

Wednesday, November 25

2:10 p.m. - Indigenous peoples group will celebrate "Truthsgiving"

Thanksgiving Day doesn’t mean the day to be thankful for some of Iowa’s indigenous peoples. It’s a day to remember the struggles the native communities went through during colonial times. Instead of Thanksgiving, they will celebrate “Truthsgiving.”

At the online Truthsgiving event, an indigenous peoples group will host guest speakers to talk about the hidden stories and stereotyping behind the last Thursday in November. Sikowis, also known as Christine Nobiss, is the founder of Great Plains Action Society.

She started Truthsgiving with her own family five years ago, but she says this year is particularly hard. The COVID-19 pandemic plays a painful parallel to entire native nations dying from colonial diseases around the time of the first Thanksgiving.

Nobiss says she doesn’t want people to stop celebrating with family, but she does want to "change the narrative."

1:45 p.m. - Native American community holds annual walk to honor children in foster care

The Native American community held its annual walk Wednesday in Sioux City, honoring their children placed into the non-Native foster care system.

During a stop for prayer at the Urban Native Center, one of the participants, Nate Big Fire, spoke of how parents’ choices influence their children’s choices. He said when parents drink or do drugs, their children suffer.

The march in Sioux City has been an 18-year tradition in the Native community held the day before Thanksgiving.

10:54 a.m. - CDC recommends people limit Thanksgiving gatherings, many could feel additional stress

With the CDC strongly recommending people don’t travel for the Thanksgiving holiday and limit their gatherings, this holiday weekend will likely look much different for many families. This could add more stress to the holiday.

With new COVID-19 infections still at high levels across the state, health experts are encouraging Iowans to limit their gatherings to just the members of their immediate household.

Emily Kroska is a professor of psychology at the University of Iowa. She says many people may feel additional stress when following these public health recommendations.

Kroska recommends acknowledging feelings of stress and anxiety when they come up this weekend, and even using them as a way to connect to others in their household who may feel the same way.

She says people can also ease anxiety by coming up with creative new ways to connect with friends and family outside of their immediate bubbles.

10:18 a.m. - More than 37,000 Iowans seek unemployment benefits

Iowa Workforce Development is reporting that 9,458 workers filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week. That’s an increase of more than 3,000 from the week before and the most in one week since July.

Manufacturing and construction were the industries with the most claims.

The number of Iowans who are continuing to receive unemployment benefits also increased to more than 37,000.

10:00 a.m. - 3,365 new COVID-19 cases, 47 new deaths reported Wednesday

These numbers reflect a 24-hour reporting period.

9:36 a.m. - Scott County postpones certification of results for 2nd Congressional District race

The largest county in the 2nd Congressional District has postponed the certification of the results of its recount. Scott County had been slated to recanvass Wednesday, but has pushed it to Monday, the day of the state’s canvass.

As of Tuesday night, the state’s unofficial results show Republican Marianette Miller-Meeks up by 35 votes over Democrat Rita Hart.

As the largest Democratic-leaning county in the district, Hart’s campaign hopes to pick up votes in Scott County in order to close that gap.

Tuesday, November 24

4:26 p.m. - Update on 2nd Congressional District race

While the majority of counties in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District have completed their recounts, some key counties haven’t yet finalized their tallies.

As of Tuesday afternoon, unofficial results from the Secretary of State’s Office show Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks up 41 votes over Democrat Rita Hart. But that does not include updated tallies from the two largest counties in the district: Scott and Johnson.

Auditor Eric Van Lancker says the recount won’t be done until Saturday in Clinton County.

The results remain unofficial until the state canvass of votes on Monday.

4:20 p.m. - Gov. Kim Reynolds will not take additional steps to stop spread of coronavirus as long-term care facilities continue to see outbreaks

About one-third of Iowa’s long-term care facilities have an active coronavirus outbreak, but the governor isn’t taking any additional steps to stem the outbreaks as they continue to increase.

The state was reporting 147 outbreaks at long-term care facilities as of Tuesday afternoon, which is an increase of more than 50 in the past week. More than a thousand Iowans living in nursing homes have died, but the state isn’t reporting the number of staff members who have died.

Reynolds was asked what steps she’ll take to help stop the massive increase in outbreaks, but Reynolds didn’t announce any new measures.

Advocates say Iowa’s rampant community spread, as well as shortages of staff and PPE, are driving the outbreaks.

3:21 p.m. - White House Coronavirus Task Force Report finds decrease in new cases in Iowa, yet numbers remain high

The newest White House Coronavirus Task Force Report found Iowa has seen a decrease in new cases and test positivity rates, but the state still continues to have some of the highest numbers in the country.

The report is dated Sunday and was released by the state Department of Public Health Tuesday, Nov. 24.

It found the rate of new infections dropped 12 percent in Iowa last week, but with a rate of 875 new cases per 100,000 residents, the state still had a rate more than double the national average.

Its test positivity rate was 22 percent which is the third highest rate in the country, and it found 99 percent of Iowa’s counties had high levels of community spread.

The report says the surge in cases can only be interrupted through proactive, focused testing of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic people as well as through significant behavioral changes.

This includes wearing a mask at all times in public and while interacting with those outside of your immediate household.

1:13 p.m. - Health care leaders urge Iowans to follow public health recommendations

More than 170 Iowa health care leaders have signed a statement urging Iowans to follow public health recommendations to slow the spread of COVID-19 as the rate of new infections and hospitalization has more than doubled in the past month.

The joint statement was released by the Iowa Hospital Association’s physician leadership group and Organization for Nursing Leadership. It urges Iowans to avoid crowds, stay home if they are sick and wear a mask.

Tammy Chance is a doctor with the Boone County Hospital. She says her goal in the summer was to get people to follow precautions so they could spend the holidays with family.

Chance says there were a few days last week when her region nearly ran out of ICU beds, and her hospital’s faced critical staffing shortages related to the virus.

More than 1,300 Iowans are hospitalized with the virus with more than 270 in the ICU.

11:52 a.m. - Average cost of Thanksgiving ingredients has dropped significantly this year

The average cost of all the ingredients for a classic Thanksgiving meal is the lowest it’s been in a decade despite the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation's yearly survey to compare holiday meal costs.

John Newton is the Chief Economist for the Farm Bureau. He says the low cost is a testament to farmers who have faced many challenges this year.

The average cost of the Thanksgiving meal for 10 people this year is $46.90 which works out to less than $5 per person.

This comes despite fluctuating food prices at grocery stores this year due to supply chain disruptions.

11:00 a.m. - Gov. Kim Reynolds holds a press briefing

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds Press Conference | November 24, 2020, 11 a.m.

10:00 a.m. - 3,860 new COVID-19 cases, 19 deaths reported Tuesday

These numbers reflect a 24-hour reporting period.

Monday, November 23

4:27 p.m. - Union calls for Iowa prisons to "shelter in place"

The head of the union representing Iowa’s corrections workers is calling for state prisons to “shelter in place” to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Speaking to reporters Monday, AFSCME Council 61 president Danny Homan said new admissions and transfers between the facilities should be temporarily stopped.

As of Monday, eight inmates and one staffer have died due to COVID-19. Homan said drastic action is needed to prevent more deaths.

The virus has raged inside state prisons, infecting more than 3,000 incarcerated individuals and staff.

3:10 p.m. - COVID-19 impacts turkey market this Thanksgiving

Small organic and free-range turkey farmers may be faring better than their larger counterparts this Thanksgiving. COVID-19 concerns have reduced the size of holiday gatherings, affecting turkey sales at large grocery stores, but independent farmers are faring better. Matt Tiefenbrunn owns Buttonwood Farms in rural Missouri. He says despite that, his sales have been about the same.

Tiefenbrun says he has sold more turkey breasts and smaller turkeys than usual but says overall he will still do well with turkey sales this year.

10:00 a.m. - 1,661 new COVID-19 cases, 13 new deaths reported Monday

These numbers reflect a 24-hour reporting period.

9:18 a.m. - Annual march honors Native American children placed in foster care

Native Americans will hold an annual march Wednesday in Sioux City to honor their children placed in foster care. One of the organizers is thinking about how those children are faring while they and their families deal with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

A spokesman for the Iowa Department of Human Services says 58 Native American children throughout Iowa have been placed into foster care since March when the pandemic began. More than half were placed with a relative or an adult known to the child.

Manape LaMere is one of the memorial march’s organizers. He wonders how the pandemic has affected these children as people cope with quarantine and their mental health.

LaMere says people will be required to wear masks and social distance during the march. They’ll stop for prayer four times as usual, but instead of gathering for a big meal at the end, people will be given food to go.

Sunday, November 22

7,028 new COVID-19 cases, 65 more deaths reported this weekend

State officials said 3,401 new cases of COVID-19 were reported Sunday to give Iowa 210,061 cases since the pandemic began.

The number of deaths linked to the virus grew by 33 to 2,192. The number of people hospitalized with the virus in Iowa remained at a high level Saturday even though it declined slightly to 1,340 from the previous day’s 1,416.

The state said 92 of Iowa’s 99 counties had 14-day positivity rates over 15 percent on Sunday, and six more counties reported rates between 10 percent and percent. Iowa had the fourth-highest rate of new cases in the nation Saturday.