Gov. Kim Reynolds yesterday urged Iowans to stay vigilant during the holidays by following mitigation strategies to protect vulnerable people and keep businesses open. She said she is optimistic the state could begin receiving federally approved vaccination doses as early as December. Public health officials have a “fast-track” strategy to prioritize and administer state-allocated vaccines through existing infrastructure based on availability. The immediate focus will be on immunizing first responders, Iowans who provide critical care and maintain critical infrastructure, and people with the highest risk for developing serious illness from the virus. Reynolds said the immediate concern is the approaching holiday season and said she fears a new spike in cases, hospitalizations and deaths could follow if Iowans don’t adjust family traditions. Listen to the news conference in full by going to the podcast section of kxel.com.
The Cedar Rapids Community School district has been approved for another 14-day virtual learning waiver. The previous waiver had students set to return to the classroom next Monday. The new waiver will run December 11th. Although Linn County has seen a slight decrease in its COVID-19 positivity rate, the district says it has not been significant enough. Athletics and activities continue to be suspended during the time of virtual learning.
The Iowa Department of Corrections said yesterday that a 10th inmate has died due to complications from COVID-19 and pre-existing conditions. 68-year-old Frederick William Lewis died Monday at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The Department of Corrections said Lewis had been serving a life sentence for first-degree sexual abuse in the Anamosa State Penitentiary before being transferred to the hospital.
A man has been arrested and charged in connection with a deadly shooting in Waterloo in September. 21-year-old Willie Saffold Jr., was charged this week with intimidation with a dangerous weapon and possession of firearms as a felon. According to court documents, witnesses say Saffold was seen shooting multiple times into a crowd of people on September 26 at a nightclub located at 501 W. 4th Street. 22-year-old Da’Curious Burkett and 28-year-old Takeya Hogan-Camp were both shot and killed. Police say at least eight more people were hurt.
Hy-Vee is voluntarily recalling two of its Hy-Vee Short Cuts vegetable mix products across its eight-state region, including Iowa, due to possible contamination with Listeria. The potential for contamination was discovered during routine safety sampling at Hy-Vee’s production facility. No illnesses have been reported in connection with these products. But out of an abundance of caution, Hy-Vee is recalling the Short Cuts Pot Roast Mix and Grill/Over Ready Veggie Mix from all of its stores. The affected products have a “Best if Used By” date of Dec. 3, 2020. No other Hy-Vee Short Cuts products or products used in Hy-Vee stores are affected by this recall.
Fareway is resuming the shortened hours its stores had early in the pandemic. The grocery store chain based in Boone says beginning Friday, all Fareway stores will be open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fareway will also reserve the 8-9 a.m. hour for customers 65 and older, expecting mothers, and those with serious medical conditions or an underlying condition that makes them more susceptible to COVID-19. Fareway stores are closed on Sundays.
The University of Northern Iowa men’s basketball team opens its season today against Western Kentucky in the Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls…but they’ll do it without one of their two seniors. UNI announced yesterday morning that stretch forward Trae Berhow will miss this week’s Crossover Classic in accordance with COVID-19 protocols. Pregame on KXEL today is at 3 p.m., with tip off at 3:30 p.m. The UNI women travel to Iowa City to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes in their season opener tonight, a game you can hear on KXEL immediately following the men’s game. UNI-Iowa tips off at 6:30 p.m. The Panther women open the home season Saturday against Creighton, but they’ll do it without fans; the university made that announcement yesterday. Only parents of players will be allowed in the McLeod Center stands.
A fifth arrest has been made in connection with a Floyd County drug bust. 32-year-old William Channing Riley of Cedar Falls was arrested Monday in Buchanan County and taken to the Floyd County Jail for a controlled substance violation. He is the fifth person arrested after an October 25th search of a home in Charles City. Investigators say 161.1 grams of methamphetamine was found, along with other narcotics and paraphernalia. Riley is accused of being present in the home when it was searched and having possession of some of the drugs that were found. The other four charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver meth are all from Charles City.
The head of one of the largest regional health systems in the Midwest has been replaced after telling employees that he had recovered from COVID-19 and was not wearing a mask. Sanford Health said in a release yesterday that it has “mutually agreed to part ways” with longtime CEO Kelby Krabbenhoft, who took over in 1996. Krabbenhoft told employees in an email that he believes he’s now immune to COVID-19 for “at least seven months and perhaps years to come.” The company’s Board of Trustees named Bill Gassen, who has been with the company since 2012.