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The weather will become pretty nice on Thursday, and sadly stay nice only on Thursday. According to the National Weather Service it will be partly sunny with a high near 68 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. The breezy conditions of the last several days, with that ever present 15-20 mph wind, will remain for much of the day. That will settle down Thursday night along with the temperature also getting much cooler again, with a low of 39 degrees.
Wednesday kept Iowa on the pace to have by far the most lethal week from COVID-19 the state has seen so far, as another 38 people died from the disease. To put that number in perspective, Iowa has only surpassed 30 deaths in one day on 4 other occasions: 1 of those was in late October, the rest have been in the 7 days. The state’s death toll from the novel coronavirus so far rose to 2,102.
The state reported 3,900 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with a 41.48 percent positivity rate — the 16th consecutive day the positivity rate has been above 40 percent. IN the one slightly positive note, the state’s hospitalizations did not jump as high as it had in recent days, hovering now at a still record high of 1,527 people hospitalized with the disease.
Most Linn County buildings will be closed to the public, beginning Thursday, in response to the county’s rising COVID-19 numbers. The Linn County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted in favor of the closures during its Wednesday meeting. The Supervisors also passed a mask mandate set to go into effect on Thursday similar to the mask mandate already put in place this week by Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Iowa U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley reported having tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday. The 87-year-old senator said he was still symptom free as of Wednesday, as is quarantining.
Iowa’s Board of Regents announced Wednesday that the tuition rate at the state’s three public universities would remain frozen into the Spring. The Regents said they will revisit a tuition hike for the fall of 2021 later on. The board’s decision leaves the 2020-21 academic year baseline tuition rate for resident undergraduates at $8,073 at the University of Iowa, $8,042 at Iowa State University and $7,665 at the University of Northern Iowa.
The State Board of Education approved new rules Wednesday for secluding and restraining school students, marking a compromise between civil liberty advocates and teachers.
The ACLU of Iowa, which filed a complaint in 2017 after reports showed some students had been secluded for only minor infractions, applauded the new rules. The new rule, which would go into effect Jan. 20, says seclusion may be used to prevent “an imminent threat of bodily injury,” to prevent serious property damage or when a student’s actions threaten to disrupt the learning environment.
Finally, former Iowa State player Tyrese Halliburton was drafted by the Sacramento Kings in the 2020 NBA draft. Halliburton, who left the Cyclones to go pro after his sophomore season, joined an exclusive group of Iowa college players who have been drafted in the First Round, and was the highest draft pick for an Iowa State player since Marcus Fizer was picked at #4 in the year 2000.