116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Wednesday, April 14.
The middle of the week will also be the coldest day of the week. You may wake up Wednesday morning to areas of frost in the Cedar Rapids area. It will warm up just enough to thaw this off, with the National Weather Service predicting a high near 49 degrees. Winds will be a little slower than some days, with a wind of 5 to 15 mph sometimes gusting as high as 25 mph.
With Tuesday’s surprising federal recommendation to put the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination on hiatus, the state’s public health officials hurried to cancel clinics or swap to another brand — and to reassure Iowans it remains safe to get vaccinated against the disease.
Federal officials announced they were reviewing reports — none of them from Iowa — of a rare but severe type of blood clot among a handful of the more than 6.8 million individuals who have received the Johnson & Johnson shot. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, its federal allocation of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is suspended for two weeks as a result of the review.
In light of the pause, local public health agencies are adjusting vaccine distribution plans and reallocating Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech two-shot doses to ensure the rollout continues, said Heather Meador, clinical services supervisor at Linn County Public Health.
Due to production delays, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was already the smallest part of most vaccine arsenals. Iowa was to receive just 1,800 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, only a fraction compared with the over 43,200 doses of Pfizer and 31,800 doses of Moderna it is expecting.
With almost 1,000 students in quarantine from exposure to COVID-19 in the Iowa City Community School District, the district’s school board voted Tuesday to relax its quarantine protocol to match the Iowa Department of Public Health.
The move by the district could release hundreds of students from quarantine early if they have had a negative COVID-19 test after seven days in quarantine or who are not showing symptoms after 10 days in quarantine.
The measure passed in a 6-1 vote, with school board member Charlie Eastham dissenting.
The district will start reaching out to families Thursday about adjusted quarantine end dates.
A funeral will be held Friday morning for Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Jim Smith, who was killed while trying to arrest a man barricaded in his Grundy Center home.
The patrol and Smith's family announced a visitation will be from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Reiff Family Center-Funeral Home and Crematory in Independence. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Independence Community High School.
Smith, a 27-year-veteran of the patrol, was shot and killed April 9 during a standoff with Michael Thomas Lang, 41. Authorities have charged Lang, who remains hospitalized, with first-degree murder.
U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst has taken up arms in Iowa Republicans’ battle in what they are calling the “war on meat.”
Ernst on Tuesday announced proposed legislation that would prohibit federal agencies from enacting bans on serving meat to federal employees.
During a conference call with Iowa reporters, Ernst conceded there are no current proposals in federal government to ban serving meat to employees. However, she pointed to a suggestion in a 2012 newsletter circulated within the federal agriculture department that employees consider participating in “meatless Mondays” to help reduce meat consumption. Ernst also cited Democratic proposals on environmental protection that she claimed would harm the animal agriculture industry.
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