Friday, November 20th, 2020 Today's Weather Outlook - (11-20-20) - Relatively mild conditions have persisted through the overnight hours thanks to elevated southerly winds. Temperatures as of the 4 o`clock hour were generally in the upper 40s to mid 50s, or right around our average high for this date. Temperatures will be quite warm for mid November again today. Some high cloud cover may hinder temperatures by a few degrees, but not enough to keep us from getting into the 60s and possibly into the low 70s. The warmth combined with lighter winds should make for a fantastic fall day. Quiet conditions are in store for Friday, but highs fall back closer to average in the upper 40s to mid 50s. Cloud cover increases by late in the day in advance of the next weather system to cross the Plains states. Latest precipitation forecasts have mostly shifted south and take most rainfall across Kansas into Missouri on Saturday. Some lingering light precipitation is possible Sunday before the system departs the region. Temperatures hold near seasonal averages early next week before another low pressure system approaches the area, which will bring chances for light rain or snow on Tuesday. Covid-19 News
Iowa COVID-19 Update - (11-20-20) - updated 10 am - Iowa's coronavirus numbers have hit another milestone. The Iowa Department of Public Health reports the state has surpassed 200,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. It took Iowa more than seven months to reach 100,000 cases on Oct. 12. Just one month and a week later, the state reached 200,000 cases. The state on Friday reported 4,359 new COVID-19 cases and 25 additional deaths. As of 10 a.m., the health department reported 203,033 total positive cases, 114,290 total recoveries and 2,127 total deaths since the pandemic began. The health department reported 198,674 total cases and 2,102 total deaths 24 hours earlier. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Thursday that 20 more long-term care facilities reported COVID-19 outbreaks. There are now 116 care facilities reporting outbreaks in Iowa. Reynolds also announced that the Iowa Department of Public Health website dashboard would provide the number of cases in the past 14 days for each individual facility reporting an outbreak. There are currently 4,275 positive cases and 1,884 recoveries within Iowa’s long-term care facilities. The state has reported 980 deaths in care facilities. State data shows 1,144,669 Iowans have been tested for the virus. The state received 10,022 individual lab test results in the previous day, with 2,342 positive cases. The state receives test results from prior days that add to the overall reported total. Iowa’s 14-day positivity rate has declined for a third straight day at 21.6%, down from 22.1% a day earlier. Health Department data shows 93 counties report a 14-day positivity rate at or greater than 15%, unchanged from the previous day. Schools in those counties can apply for a waiver to provide remote instruction. There are 71 counties with a rate higher than 20% and three counties report a rate higher than 30%. COVID-19 hospitalizations have declined for a second day in Iowa. State data shows there are 1,447 patients hospitalized with the virus, down from 1,516 the previous day. Iowa had set records for hospitalizations each day in November until Thursday. There were 207 patients admitted in the last 24 hours. That’s down from 233 the previous day. There are currently 275 patients in intensive care and 144 patients on ventilators. Iowa reports approximately 2,700 hospital beds, 325 ICU beds and 835 ventilators available. Hospitalization analysis shows 1,078 hospitalized patients had a primary COVID-19 diagnosis, while 369 were hospitalized for another reason but tested positive. Seventy-two percent of Iowa’s hospitalized patients with the virus are 60 or older. Another 14% of patients are between the ages of 50-59. Three percent of cases are under the age of 18. Here are the numbers from our surrounding counties - Shelby County - 647 - New cases in 24 hours - 10- 3 deaths - 26.2% positivity rate - as of Thursday, 11/19 from Myrtue Medical Center (as of Friday 11/20 - IDPH reports 695 cases - 436 recovered - 3 deaths) Audubon County - 274 cases - 140 recovered - 1 death Cass County - 693 cases - 476 recovered - 18 deaths Crawford County - 1,655 cases - 1,335 recovered - 15 deaths Harrison County - 967 cases - 627 recovered - 26 deaths Pottawattamie County - 5,392 cases - 3,269 recovered - 62 deaths
Contract tracers focusing on household exposures – Radio Iowa – 11-20-20 - The number of new coronavirus cases in Iowa is going up so quickly that contact tracers with the state Department of Public Health are having a hard time keeping up. Dr. Caitlyn Pedati, the state epidemiologist, says they’ve made so-called “household contacts” the priority. Particularly when we think about family gatherings, moving into the holiday season, and the way that we interact,” Pedati says, “again keeping in mind that the goal here, right, is doing what we can to limit spread, protect people who are going to have poor outcomes and maintain those health care resources.” About 100 state employees are doing these kind of case investigations. Earlier this week, the public health department started accepting bids from private companies, to add another 200 people to the effort to track down and notify people who’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid.
A record 118 Iowa nursing homes have coronavirus outbreaks – 11-20-20 - The State reports 980 nursing home residents have died of Covid and a record 118 Iowa nursing homes now have active Covid-19 outbreaks. The spike in Iowa’s coronavirus infections is also making staffing shortages worse. A-A-R-P Iowa is calling on the state to develop a plan to help with staffing and to keep the virus out of facilities. Brad Anderson is the state director for A-A-R-P: “We have 43% of Iowa nursing homes across the state reporting a workforce shortage,” Anderson says. “That is well above the national average of 28% and so until we deal with the workforce shortage, we’re going to have a very difficult time containing the virus.” New state guidelines say nursing homes may — as a last resort – have Covid-positive staff care for residents, if the staff wear proper protective equipment.
General News -
Time to have your Medicare Part D checked to make sure you have the best plan for you for 2021. Plans change premiums, move drugs to higher tiers, change formularies. If you want to check your plan call the SHIIP (Senior Health Insurance Information) Office, located within the Therkildsen Activity Center for unbiased information we can compare all plans offered. There are 3 SHIIP counselors available to help you and explain your options. To make an appointment call 755-2757. Please leave a message if they are not available when you call and your call will be returned. The deadline for the open enrollment in Medicare Part D is December 7th.
Riverside Community Schools moving to remote learning – 11-20-20 - On Friday, Riverside Community School District Superintendent Dr. Tim Mitchell, issued a statement with regard to COVID-19. Mitchell says “Due to high numbers of student and staff absenteeism, Riverside will be moving to Full Required Remote Learning on Monday, November 23, 2020 and Tuesday, November 24. 2020. They currently have approximately 25% of the students at approximately 15% of the staff out due to testing positive for COVID-19 or being determined a primary contact and having the need to be in quarantine. They plan to return to our traditional model on Monday November 30, 2020. Riverside Childcare will be open for the normal hours of operation. Teachers will discuss expectations with their students in their classes. They will also make sure they take technology home. If you need help with accessing the Internet please contact your school. Dr. Mitchell said also, “We will have meals available at each building. The student/parent/caregiver has to pick up at the building their student attends. If they have one in each building they will pick it up for that student at the building they attend. We are a closed site, providing for only enrolled students, and the eligible number for reimbursement is based on our enrollment number. Distribution 9:00 AM-11:00 AM Monday November 23, 2020. Each meal packet will include food for two breakfasts and two lunches.” As of Friday, Pottawattamie County is 22.4% positive- for the14 day average.
Carroll Man Faces Two Felony Counts – Carroll Broadcasting – 11-20-20 – 29 year old Joshua Michael Hoffman of Carroll has been charged with one count of Iowa Lottery theft and one count of second-degree theft, both class D felonies. Hoffman was arrested at the beginning of November on allegations of lottery fraud and now faces two felony counts in District Court. According to Carroll Broadcasting, a Carroll Police Department investigation shows Hoffman had fraudulently played and cashed out InstaPlay tickets totaling $2,204 while he was working at Sparky’s One Stop in Carroll from October 1st through the 11th. His arraignment hearing has been scheduled for Thursday, December 10th. Each class D felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and $7,500 in fines.
Road Closure in Audubon County – 11-19-20 The Audubon County Roads Department reports 210th Street between Quail Avenue and Robin Avenue will be closed to thru traffic for bridge repair starting this morning at 7:30 am until 3 pm on Tuesday, November 24th.
Accident on I-29 Wednesday morning – 11-19-20 - A one vehicle accident occurred on Wednesday morning at around 7 am, on I-29 southbound at the 65 mile marker. 72 year old Lorene Clark of Pisgah was southbound and for unknown reasons drove into the west ditch. Her Ford F-150 struck the 65 mm sign and then a tree in the ditch. The vehicle caught fire and became fully engulfed and was extinguished by Crescent Fire Department. Clark was assisted out of the vehicle by a passing motorist prior to law enforcement arrival. She was transported by Crescent Rescue to UNMC in Omaha.
Iowa’s jobless claims rise again - 11-19-20 More than 63-hundred Iowa workers filed an initial claim for unemployment benefits last week. That’s about 11-hundred more first-time claims for unemployment than the previous week. It mirrors the national trend in rising claims for unemployment benefits. A news release from Iowa Workforce Development did not indicate how many of those job losses were due to the pandemic, but the agency indicated 44 percent of last week’s claims were from people who said their layoff was NOT related to Covid. Officials say November is the start of a four-month period of seasonal layoffs in the construction, landscaping, agriculture and manufacturing industries.
Crawford County News – 11-19-20 - At 7:45 pm, Saturday, November 14th, 29 year old Benjamin Joseph Harlston of Denison was arrested for interference with official acts and criminal mischief to a police vehicle. The incident occurred at 204 North 14th Street, No. 1. And on November 12th, at 4:07 pm, 79 year old Louis Phillip Hinners of Arcadia, was driving a red 2004 Chevrolet K1500 pickup in the inside southbound lane of Highway 30 and looked but did not see a 2018 Peterbilt semi travelling in the right southbound lane of Highway 30. Hinners proceeded to move into the right lane. 64 year old Roy Walter Leforce of Edmond, OK, driver of the semi, said he moved over to the right as far as he could to avoid a collision but struck the side of a bridge and the Hinners pickup collided with the front of his semi. The semi received $3,000 damage to the front driver side corner and the Hinners pickup received $1,200 damage to the rear passenger side corner. No one was injured and the vehicles could be driven away. Hinners was cited for making an improper lane change.
Mask mandate approved by Shelby County Supervisors – 11-18-20 - The Shelby County Board of Supervisors met Tuesday morning by way of ZOOM and approved a mask mandate. The policy reads: any person entering or present in the Shelby County Courthouse or any other administrative office including but not limited to the Engineer’s Office, Environmental Services Office, the Sheriff’s Office and the Conservation office, shall wear a face covering for the duration of their time in that building. Also, while on duty an employee shall wear a mask when around other members of the general public, but nothing in the policy requires a County employee to wear a mask while he or she is alone in their designated office. The policy will remain in effect until the Board of Supervisors determines it is no longer needed.
Reynolds Announces Additional Support for COVID-19-Impacted Renters and Homeowners at Risk of Eviction or Foreclosure -11-19-20 Governor Kim Reynolds announced an additional allocation of CARES Act funds to support Iowa renters and homeowners at-risk of eviction or foreclosure due to a COVID-19-related loss of income. The Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program has now been allocated a total of $37.4 million, with approximately $8 million remaining available. The deadline to apply for rent and mortgage assistance as well as utility assistance through the Iowa Residential Utility Disruption Prevention program is Dec. 4, 2020. The announcement bolsters the Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program, which is helping Iowa homeowners and renters make their rent or mortgage payments. The team will continue to assist Iowans in accessing this critical assistance as the Dec. 4th deadline approaches. Nearly 11,000 renters and 500 homeowners have received assistance with their rent or mortgage payments and another 2,800 have applied for utility assistance to date. The goal is to assist as many Iowans that have been impacted by COVID-19 and are at-risk of eviction, foreclosure or utility disruption as possible. The programs are funded through federal CARES Act funds, which requires that all funds be expended by Dec. 30, 2020. To be eligible for either program: Must have a documented COVID-19-related loss of income on or after March 17, 2020. Household income at the time of application may not exceed 80% median family income, which varies by county and household size and is included in the applications. Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program The program provides current renters and homeowners who are at-risk of eviction or foreclosure due to a COVID-19 loss of income with rent or mortgage assistance for up to four months. The total maximum in assistance per household is the lesser of $3,200 for rental assistance and $3,600 for mortgage assistance or four months actual rent/mortgage payment amounts. Payments are made directly to landlords and mortgage servicers and applied to the applicant’s account. The state has allocated $37.4 million of federal CARES Act funds to the Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program to date. Residential Utility Disruption Prevention Program The program provides eligible households with up to $2,000 towards electric, natural gas and water bills if they are at risk of disconnection due to an inability to pay due to a COVID-19 related loss of income. Payments are made directly to utility providers and applied to the applicant’s account. The state allocated approximately $14.5 million of federal CARES Act funds for utility assistance programs. For a full list of eligibility requirements and to apply for either program, visit iowahousingrecovery.com through Dec. 4, 2020.
Reynolds signs new proclamation modifying public health measures – 11-19-20 On Wednesday, Governor Kim Reynolds, signed a new Public Health Disaster proclamation that modifies existing public health measures to provide clarity and simplify the measures applicable to recreational activities and fitness centers. Except for high school, collegiate, or professional sporting or recreational gatherings, the proclamation only permits sporting and recreational activities when all participants in the gathering—including athletes, coaches, or instructors—maintain six feet of physical distance at all times. Activities where closer contact is required or reasonably unavoidable, such as a wrestling meet or basketball game, are prohibited. Spectators are also limited at all gatherings to two per athlete and must be social distanced six feet apart. And all participants, except for athletes, must wear masks. These requirements also apply to group classes or activities at fitness centers and gyms. The proclamation does not change any measures in place for high school-sponsored, collegiate, or professional sporting or recreational activities. High school sports and extracurricular activities continue to be permitted, even where close contact may occur. But spectators at games or events are limited to two per student and are required to wear a mask. The proclamation was effective immediately and continues to expire on December 10, 2020.
Doctors in Iowa say CDC flu data is misleading – (11-18-20) - Some Iowa doctors say the current flu data for the state is misleading. A map from the centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the country’s highest flu activity is in Iowa. But local doctors say activity in Iowa is low. They say the data accounts for everyone with flu-like symptoms. That could be a fever, cough of sore throat. All three are signs of the flu and coronavirus. University of Iowa’s Dr. Bradley Ford says a lot of those cases are likely COVID-19. Iowa is currently about 5.5% with other areas less than 2% Flu on the graph. Ford says it’s important that people remain vigilant this flu season and get their flu shot. He also says wearing a mask and social distancing are some of the best ways to prevent both the flu and COVID-19 infection.
McDermott to be arraigned November 25th – (11-13-20) The prelimnary hearing for 53 year old Rex Dean McDermott of Atlantic was held on Thursday, November 12th. During the arraignment, the court formally informed McDermott of the charges contained in an indictment or information, providing the defendant with a copy of the charging instrument and taking the defendant’s answer to those charges in the form of a plea. An order ordering the appointment of Counsel at State Expense was denied. McDermott was released on bond from Adair County on Tuesday. A criminal complaint against McDermott alleges that at around 11 pm, October 30th, McDermott pulled a woman out of a pickup near Fontanelle, punched her and then struck her with an unknown wooden object. The victim suffered a laceration above her right eye, bruising and swelling of the face and other areas of pain. McDermott has been charged with Willful Injury causing bodily injury and Going Armed with Intent. His arraignment on those charges will be held at 9 am, November 25th.
Need for convalescent plasma becomes critical – (11-11-20) - LifeServe Blood Center is seeking community members who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have COVID-19 antibodies to donate convalescent plasma to meet the dramatically rising plasma needs of local hospitals. As the number of daily COVID-19 cases in our region rises, so does the need for convalescent plasma in local hospitals. This month has seen the highest CCP usage since the beginning of the pandemic. As patient hospitalizations continue to increase, it is projected that the amount of CCP needed for treatment will outpace the amount of donations of this lifesaving blood product. An eligible COVID-19 convalescent plasma donor will have tested positive for COVID-19 or have tested positive for the COVID-19 antibodies. Individuals who believe they had COVID-19 but never received positive confirmation are encouraged to complete the CCP assessment form at lifeservebloodcenter.org to determine eligibility. Additionally, all blood donors receive an antibody test as part of the regular donation process. Potential donors can schedule an appointment or seek more information at lifeservebloodcenter.org or by calling 800-287-4903.
Iowa Community Kitchen - Harlan - (10-28-20) - The Iowa Community Kitchen in Harlan and Earling will be closed until further notice, until the numbers of COVID- 19 cases goes down.
November activities at the Harlan Community Library - All through November – Magic Time – November kids’ Take and Make – pick up your magic kit at the library. Saturday, November 21st – Babies and Books Online – Baby Bouncy Time Tuesday, November 24th – 3 pm – Tech Time – Transparent Language with Dena Wednesday, November 25th – 10:30 am Story Time online with Emily Thursday, November 26th – Library closed for Thanksgiving Friday, November 27th – Library closed for holiday – 12 noon Reader’s Advisory Book discussion Saturday, November 28th – 10 am Babies and Books online – Baby Bouncy Time
St. Paul's Thanksgiving meal cancelled - 11-19-20 - St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Irwin has cancelled their Thanksgiving meal that was scheduled for Sunday, November 22nd, at 7 pm due to COVID-19.
Blood Donations Needed - Upcoming blood donation opportunities include: Tuesday, November 24th - 11:30 am to 5:30 pm - Veteran's Memorial Building in Harlan Friday, November 27th - 12:30 pm - 6:30 pm - Templeton Center in Templeton Monday, November 30th - 12 noon to 6 pm - Exira REC Center Tuesday, December 1st - 11:30 am to 5:30 pm - United Methodist Church in Denison Wednesday, December 2nd - 12 noon to 6 pm - American Legion Hall in Avoca Friday, December 4th - 8 am to 2 pm - Myrtue Medical Center in Harlan Saturday, December 5th - 7:30 am to 12:30 pm - Shelby Community Building Thursday, December 10th - 12 noon to 6 pm - Rand Community Center in Missouri Valley Friday, December 18th - 12 noon to 6 pm - Sacred Heart Church in Manning Wednesday, December 23rd - 8:30 am to 2:30 pm - Cass County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic Tuesday, December 29th - 12 Noon to 6 pm - St. Patrick's Parish Center in Audubon
Julefest to be held Next Friday and Saturday with a few changes – 11-20-20- Even though it’s been a rough year, getting into the holiday spirit is easy in the Danish villages. The 42nd annual Julefest will be held November 27th and 28th. Julefest promises an array of traditional Danish food and tasty treats such as pastries, wine, glogg and pebbernodder. You can shop for a number of unique Christmas presents and decorations at their many shops in both towns. Plus you can visit the windmill, the museum and Bestemor’s house. New this year is the Danish Windmill’s Silent Auction at the Elk Horn Fire Hall from 1 to 6 on Saturday, along with a Vintage Quilt Show sponsored by Log Cabin Quilt Shop. For this year only, the Danish Windmill is sponsoring a Frikadeller meal to go from 4 to 7 at the Elk Horn Fire Hall. This is RSVP only by calling 764-7472 to reserve your ticket. Both towns will be decorated for Christmas and the streets will be lined with American and Danish flags. The usual Pancake Breakfast, Polar Run, two craft fairs and evening concert have been cancelled for this year. Safety is a priority this year and they will be following CDC guidelines for events. Masks are required.
The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce invites everyone to step out onto their porch, driveway, or even their front lawn and say happy holidays to Santa this Saturday starting at 5 pm during the Santa Cruise through Harlan. Santa will be teaming up with the Harlan Fire Department to cruise through Harlan on a fire truck.
Letters to Santa - (11-16-20) - Children are invited to drop off a letter to Santa in Elk Horn Public Library's special mailbox located in their entryway beginning November 28th through December 12th. Santa and his helpers will be sending replies to letters they receive, so be sure to include your name and return address.
Tree of Light Ornaments now available - (12-16-20) - The 2020 Myrtue Medical Center Auxiliary Tree of Lights Cross Ornaments are now available. The deadline for ordering ornaments has been set for Monday, November 30th. Forms are available at the Myrtue Medical Center gift shop. Completed forms may be dropped off at the gift shop or mailed to Deb McCarthy, 30516 430th Street, Avoca, IA 51521.
Applications being accepted for health care educational grants - (10-22-20) - Applications for healthcare educational grants from the Endowment for Education are now being accepted. The grants are made available through the Lucille Petersen Endowment Fund, which was established in 1988. The funds will be distributed to selected applicants seeking short or long-range educational assistance to pursue healthcare occupations. A November 30th deadline has been set for applications to be submitted for the spring 2021 semester. The funds will be distributed as grants—loans that will be forgiven if the recipient is employed within a 20-mile radius of Harlan in his or her specialized healthcare occupation following completion of courses. If a recipient cannot fulfill the service terms under which the loan will be forgiven, the money is subject to a five percent interest rate and repayment of principal. Application forms and more information are available by contacting Ruth Pitkin, Myrtue Medical Center, 1213 Garfield Ave., Harlan, IA, 51537, phone 712-755-4316 or email email@example.com. The grants can be for new, entry-level, or advanced training or certifications.
EJ Leinen at State Farm Insurance in Harlan is currently collecting gloves, scarves and hats for our local schools for students in need through December 5th. Bring new or slightly used items to EJ Leinen State Farm, 513 Court Street in Harlan. If you have any questions, call 755-5825.
CANCELLED - Annual Cookie Walk and Lunch - (10-1-20) The Harlan United Methodist Church has cancelled their annual Cookie Walk and Lunch this year .
LifeServe Blood Center is asking community members to book an appointment to give blood at an upcoming area blood drive. Bloodmobiles will be held on Monday, December 7th, from 9:30 am to noon at the Charter Oak Library and from 1 to 6 pm at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Manilla. Appointments are required by calling 800-287-4903.
West Central Community Action Holiday Adoption Program is underway – (12-16-20) - Applications for families wishing to be adopted by West Central Community Action will be accepted now through December 11th. Children age 18 and under, along with elderly ages 65 and up, who are at or below 175% poverty level may apply. Families interested in applying, please contact West Central at 755-5602.
The Shelby County Conservation Board and Iowa DNR will be hosting a series of outdoor cooking classes over the next few months. All classes will be done through Zoom. They will all be about breakfast foods and begin at 9 am. The class on December 12th will be over the fire recipes that don’t require any special equipment. The class on January 16th will be about sandwich makers and pie irons. The class on February 6th will be on Dutch ovens. Participants are encouraged to cook along with the presenters and interact with the presenters. Ingredient lists and any prep work instructions will be sent out prior to class. Preregistration is required. Links for registration can be found on the Iowa Becoming an Outdoors women Facebook page or Shelby County Conservation Board Facebook Page. Everybody is welcome to attend. If you have any questions, contact Christina at 744-3403.
Powerful Tools for Family Caregivers class – 10-21-20 Connections Area Agency on Aging is pleased to offer Powerful Tools for Family Caregivers, which is an evidence-based class starting on January 12th to benefit Family Caregivers. Powerful Tools for Family Caregivers provide caregivers with tools and strategies to better handle the unique caregiver challenges you face. The classes meet online by way of Zoom once a week for six weeks starting Tuesday, January 12th and ending Tuesday, February 16th. Classes are held from 1:30 to 3 pm or 6:30 to 8 pm. It is for caregivers of adults with chronic conditions. The class size is limited and registration is required by January 4th. For more information, contact Jan Schnack, Family Caregiver specialist at Connections Area Agency on Aging at 800-432-9209, ext. 8116.
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