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 Friday, September 10.
If you enjoyed the cooler weather this week then I have some bad news for you. It’s going to get a bit hotter on Friday on the way to a plain hot Saturday, just in time for a rivalry game. According to the National Weather Service it will be mostly sunny with a high near 83 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Friday. A south wind of 5 to 10 mph will pick up a bit during the day. On Friday night it will be mostly clear, with a low around 59 degrees.
President Joe Biden announced sweeping new federal vaccine requirements Thursday affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.
The expansive approach he announced mandates that all employers with more than 100 workers must require their employees either be vaccinated or be tested for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.
The move will be instituted by the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
In Iowa, all 99 counties now are in the red zone of high virus transmission rates. That’s not yet the case with all counties in neighboring states Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota and Illinois, according to federal data.
Still, Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday she trusts Iowans — not the government — to make health care decisions and criticized Biden’s move as an overreach.
Children aged 17 and younger made up 29 percent of the positive COVID-19 cases reported in Iowa this past week and remain the top age group for positive cases.
Also, the percent of positive cases among Iowans 17 and younger -- 22 percent of reported cases this past week -- has been steadily increasing over the past month, according to a Gazette analysis of state coronavirus data.
Statewide, 8,404 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the past week, according to Wednesday numbers released by the Iowa Department of Public Health. That compares to 8,308 cases the previous week.
Hospitalizations for the virus are also up, although there was not the 100 patient jump seen each of the previous two weeks. Iowa health data shows that unvaccinated people make up 80 percent of 578 people currently hospitalized with the disease, and nearly 90 percent of those in intensive care for COVID-19.
The Linn County Sheriff’s Office has released the identity of the man and woman who died Wednesday after a collision with an oncoming dump truck.
In a release, the sheriff’s office says the driver in the vehicle was Leo Alan Ray, 35, of Cedar Rapids, and his passenger was Stacey Lynn Watts, 35, also of Cedar Rapids.
Ray and Watts were killed Wednesday after crashing into an oncoming dump truck after fleeing from a Linn County deputy on Highway 151 north of Walford.
A deputy activated the squad car’s emergency lights and attempted to stop the vehicle after receiving the report of a domestic disturbance in the vehicle with the woman attempting to jump out.
When Ray failed to stop, the deputy determined the driver was driving too recklessly and stopped the pursuit near the Highway 151 intersection with Wright Brothers Boulevard. The collision happened soon after, according to the sheriff’s office.
The driver of the dump truck was unhurt.