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This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Thursday, September 23.
It should be another sunny and pleasant day Thursday. According to the National Weather Service the high in the Cedar Rapids area will be near 73 degrees, with a calm win. The sky will remain clear Thursday night, with a low around 49 degrees.
The COVID-19 situation in Iowa continues to worsen, although thankfully not yet at exponential levels.
As of Wednesday, 638 people were hospitalized with the COVID-19, the most since Dec. 23 when 644 people were hospitalized, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Additionally, 161 patients were in intensive care units — the most since Dec. 15 — and 74 patients were on ventilators to help them breathe.
In addition, the number of available intensive care beds in Iowa is at its lowest level since March 2020, with 182 beds available across the state.
In an abrupt development and without explanation from her, Dr. Caitlin Pedati’s resignation as Iowa’s Department of Public Health was announced Wednesday.
One of the central figures in the state’s ongoing response to the pandemic, Pedati plans to leave in late October, according to a news release from the state, which included comments from Gov. Kim Reynolds and interim state public health Director Kelly Garcia, but not Pedati.
When asked, the state public health department did not say why the announcement didn’t contain any comments from Pedati. A department spokeswoman would not make her available for an interview, saying Pedati’s focus is “working with her team to prepare for this transition.”
The announcement said Pedati plans to pursue new career opportunities
A 21-year-old Mount Mercy University student died this week from COVID-19, according to a campus letter from university President Todd Olson.
Ashley Hudson — who Olson said was an “aspiring kindergarten teacher and had dreams of becoming a Mount Mercy graduate” — died Monday as a result of COVID complications.
Mount Mercy held a vigil at the campus’ Chapel of Mercy on Monday, also providing grief counselors for anyone needing them.
Three semi-trailer trucks collided Wednesday morning on Highway 151 near Springville, sending one driver to the hospital with injuries.
Linn County deputies were called to the crash just after 7 a.m. near the highway’s intersection with Wendling Lane.
Deputies reported Michael Lacourciere, 60, of Morton, Ill., was driving west, with his semi pulling an oversized load, when he failed to notice a construction zone that narrowed the highway to one lane.
Lacourciere stopped his semi in the roadway, pulled onto the shoulder and began to back up.
This brought westbound traffic to a stop, deputies said, causing a semi, driven by Gary Schulte, 60, of New Vienna, to run into the back of another semi driven by Wayne Myhre, 64, of Bloomington, Wis.
The collision pushed Myhre’s semi into a third semi, driven by Ronald Fagan, 64, of Onslow.
Myhre was taken to the hospital for treatment of what were believed to be non-life threatening injuries.