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 Thursday, Jan. 20.
It’s going to be another cold one Thursday, but at least it won’t be as windy as Wednesday.
According to a forecast from the National Weather Service, it will be sunny with a high near 3 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. While the wind chill will clock in at -25 degrees, the wind will be a comparably gentler 5 to 10 mph. The wind will become calmer and it will get even colder as the day goes on, with the temperature dropping to a low around -15 degrees.
The state released their weekly COVID-19 numbers on Wednesday, and almost all of them are bad and getting worse.
On Wednesday, Iowa reported 38,574 new COVID-19 cases in the past week — an average of 5,511 cases per day. The total, released by the Iowa Department of Public Health, is the highest number of new cases in a week Iowa has seen since the pandemic began almost 2 years ago.
Statewide coronavirus positivity rates continued to increase as the omicron variant continues to run rampant, reaching 26.2 percent over the past seven days. Last week, it was 23.8 percent.
Patients admitted to Iowa hospitals because of COVID-19 reached 991, an increase from the 923 admissions last week. On Monday, hospitalizations had reached 1,010, the most seen since the 1,124 COVID-19 patients seen across the state on Dec. 3, 2020.
The surge in COVID-19 cases is leading several University of Iowa instructors to move their classes online, despite it being against campus policy.
As students return to its public universities for the spring semester, the University of Iowa graduate student union is urging members to move all courses they’re teaching online for the first two weeks — despite UI policy barring such action without permission.
The UI-based Campaign to Organize Graduate Students — or COGS — began circulating a petition last week urging members to sign and participate in the electronic-instruction shift. A COGS spokesman told the Gazette that hundreds of instructors across numerous departments have moved their courses online to start the semester — which began on Tuesday.
A Cedar Rapids teen charged with fatally stabbing his parents in October may claim insanity and diminished responsibility at his murder trial set for next month.
Ethan Alexander Orton, 17, charged as an adult with two counts of first-degree murder, was found competent to stand trial last week by a judge following a psychiatric evaluation.
He is accused of fatally stabbing his parents, Casey Arthur Orton, 42, and Misty Scott-Slade, 41, on Oct. 14 at their home in northeast Cedar Rapids.
Orton’s lawyers filed a notice of defense Tuesday, stating he “may rely on the defenses of insanity and diminished responsibility” at his Feb. 8 trial.
Yesterday I mentioned that Democratic challengers for governor would have to break records to match incumbent Kim Reynolds. They fell far short of doing so.
Reynolds’ campaign raised nearly $3.8 million in 2021 — more than 13 times what DeJear raised.
DeJear’s campaign raised nearly $280,000 in 2021, but spent nearly $271,000 to run her campaign.
The only other Democratic candidate for governor is Kim West, an attorney from Des Moines whose 2021 report was not pasted as of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Iowa’s 2022 primary election is June 7; the general election is Nov. 8.
Support for this podcast provided by New Pioneer Food Co-op. Celebrating 50 years as Eastern Iowa’s source for locally and responsibly sourced groceries with stores in Iowa City, Coralville and Cedar Rapids; and online through Co-op Cart at newpi.coop.