116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Thursday, December 23.
It’s going to warm up a bit again toward the end of the week. According to a forecast from the National Weather Service it will be partly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area Thursday with a high near 48 degrees. On Thursday night it will be mostly cloudy, with a low around 32 degrees.
New COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations in Iowa are trending downward this week after reaching record-level totals earlier this month.
According to the latest data released Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health, the number of patients hospitalized for the coronavirus dropped this week to 747, a decline following six consecutive weeks of increases.
The state reported 823 patients hospitalized as a result of COVID-19 last week, marking the first time since Dec. 12, 2020, that coronavirus hospitalizations were at or above 800.
Total available intensive care beds dipped to another all-time low this past week — the second week in a row — after reaching 130 available beds statewide on Dec. 21.
Cedar Rapids police on Wednesday released the name of the officer who fired his gun last week at a vehicle after an attempted traffic stop, but offered no detail on whether anyone has been arrested in the altercation.
Reserve Officer Scott Fruehling, who has been employed with the department since September 1994, will not perform any police duties while the officer-involved shooting is being investigated, according to a news release.
Police say that Fruehling attempted to perform a traffic stop last Friday at 32nd St. NE. When the motorist would not stop, a short chase ensued, until the fleeing suspect turned onto a road blocked off by construction. Police say with both vehicles stopped, Officer Fruehling stepped out of his vehicle to confront the driver, but the driver at that time turned their vehicle around and drove through Fruehling the other way. Fruehling fired at the vehicle as he was hit according to the police account.
Police say they are still looking for the suspect who was involved in the incident. Fruehling was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital.
Once the process is completed, it’s likely more than 1,000 refugees from Afghanistan will have been resettled in Iowa, according to a state refugee services worker.
As of mid-December, roughly 700 Afghans had been resettled in Iowa, Mak Suceska, bureau chief for the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services within the Iowa Department of Human Services, said during the Wednesday taping of “Iowa Press” at Iowa PBS Studios.
He said he expects that number to grow to more than 1,000.
Suceska and Kerri True-Funk, director of the Des Moines field office of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, said the refugees are relocating in cities across the state, including Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, the Quad-Cities, Sioux City and Council Bluffs.
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