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This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Wednesday, Jan. 13.
Wednesday will be the last break from poor winter weather for a bit. According to the National Weather Service there will be a high of 39 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. It will be cloudy in the morning before gradually becoming mostly sunny. Even Wednesday night it will remain above freezing, with a low of 33 degrees. Thursday and Friday look to bring chances for rain and snow before colder temperatures to come.
Another phase of COVID-19 vaccinations in Iowa will start at the beginning of February. Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Health told state legislators Tuesday they expect to pivot to the next part of the coronavirus vaccine distribution plan by Feb. 1, moving beyond front-line health care workers and beginning to vaccinate other essential workforces and those most at risk for severe illness. The process to inoculate this population likely will cover several weeks.
People who can qualify under this phase are: adults older than 75, individuals living at home with disabilities along with their caregivers, correctional staff and inmates, K-12 educators and others who work with children, first responders, front line workers in at risk industries, and social workers who help at-risk groups.
I mentioned yesterday that due to the way the state is reporting its data, there are good days and bad days with the virus that average out over time. Tuesday was a bad day, with Iowa reporting 1,200 new coronavirus cases and 83 deaths related to the virus. Hospitalizations for the virus remained steady in the 500 to 600 range that the state has seen the last month, with slow declines over time.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds gave her Condition of the State speech on Tuesday, proposing an $8.1 billion state spending plan for fiscal 2022. This would be a 3.7 percent spending increase that would fund priorities in broadband expansion, K-12 and higher education and mental health programs for adults and children.
The bulk of the new money would go toward a three-year, $450 million plan that would expand accessibility to affordable broadband. Reynolds said the pandemic had exposed the divide in Iowa for those who have access to good broadband in the cities versus many rural communities who do not.
The United States Congress voted along party lines Tuesday to ask Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th amendment to remove President Donald Trump from power. The move was in response to President Trump’s rally devolving into a siege on the Capitol building last week. Pence sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter declining to utilize the 25th in this way, arguing that it was only intended to remove presidents who could not fulfill their duty due to illness. As a result, the House is expected to meet again Wednesday and vote to impeach the president. If the vote is approved, as expected, this will make President Trump the only president in history to be impeached twice by Congress. The House members would then hold a trial in the Senate to make their case they should complete the impeachment process.
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