State lab can detect omicron variant

BY: - November 29, 2021

The latest significant coronavirus variant — dubbed “omicron” by the World Health Organization on Friday — has several troubling mutations that might boost its ability to spread, but the changes also make it more quickly detectable by the State Hygienic Laboratory, which processes the tests of Iowa residents. “Fortunately for us, the (tests) that we […]

Federal vaccine mandate for health care workers in 10 states blocked by judge

BY: - November 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — Enforcement of the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for millions of health care workers was blocked in 10 states on Monday, after a ruling by a federal judge in Missouri. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Matthew Schelp affects the states involved in the lawsuit, which include Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and New Hampshire. The […]

With staff vaccinations still lagging, new nursing home outbreaks appear

BY: - November 29, 2021

Three new COVID-19 outbreaks were reported in Iowa nursing homes last week. Currently, there are 27 Iowa nursing homes in outbreak status, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health, which means that each has had at least three staffers and/or residents infected as a result of a current, active outbreak. There are a total […]

New COVID omicron variant ‘not a cause for panic,’ Biden says

BY: - November 29, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden sought to reassure Americans on Monday about the latest COVID-19 variant, describing it as “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic.” Biden did not announce any new travel restrictions or other federal actions during his brief remarks from the White House. Instead, he urged Americans to get a booster […]

Doctor convicted in opioid scheme granted an Iowa medical license

BY: - November 29, 2021

The Iowa Board of Medicine has granted a license to a physician currently on probation for his role in a criminal scheme to distribute opioids to addicts. Dr. Parth S. Bharill, now 63, entered a plea of guilty in September 2019 to one felony count of conspiracy to distribute suboxone outside the usual course of […]

Interior Department calls for oil and gas leasing updates, but not ending production

BY: - November 29, 2021

The U.S. Interior Department recommended increased fees for oil and gas exploration on federal lands as part of a long-awaited report that environmental groups said didn’t go far enough in limiting fossil fuels and Republicans derided as an attack on domestic producers. The report, ordered by President Joe Biden during his first week in office, focuses […]

covid-19 cell pastel

White House imposes travel restrictions for Africa amid new COVID-19 variant

BY: - November 28, 2021

WASHINGTON — The White House is set to announce travel restrictions to eight countries in Southern Africa on Monday due to the discovery of a new coronavirus variant, according to senior administration officials. The World Health Organization classified the COVID-19 variant as a “variant of concern” due to its high mutation and transmission rate, and […]

Environmentalists search for the next Paul W. Johnson

BY: - November 28, 2021

A prominent Iowa conservationist who died this year will be honored in an online event this week that is meant to reignite public enthusiasm for sustaining the environment. Paul W. Johnson, a Decorah farmer, was a co-author of key legislation to protect soil and water about two decades ago when he served three terms in […]

Sage-grouse protection plans in the West under review by Biden administration

BY: - November 27, 2021

The Bureau of Land Management is updating Obama-era plans to manage the greater sage-grouse in 10 Western states. The BLM has published a request for comments to help update management plans for the bird’s habitat in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and other Western states. The Interior Department agency will review new scientific data, including […]

How paid leave, a tax cut for the rich and more could get axed from Biden’s social policy bill

BY: and - November 26, 2021

WASHINGTON — Congressional Democrats cheered on the floor of the U.S. House after approving President Joe Biden’s massive social spending and climate bill. But a major struggle lies ahead in the coming month in the U.S. Senate, where Democrats cannot lose any votes within their party if they are to send the so-called Build Back Better measure […]

Restaurant inspection update: moldy food, rodents and immediate closures

BY: - November 26, 2021

In the past four weeks, state and county food inspectors have cited Iowa restaurants for hundreds of food-safety violations, including moldy vegetables, rodent activity, cockroach infestations and kitchens so filthy they triggered an immediate, temporary closure of the establishment. The findings are among those reported by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, which handles […]

Swift Pork Co. accused of discouraging workers’ use of family medical leave

BY: - November 26, 2021

An Iowa man is suing Swift Pork Co., alleging it discourages workers from taking advantage of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court on behalf of Swift employee Raymond Black of Wapello County, seeks unspecified damages for alleged FMLA violations. Black’s lawsuit alleges that in 2018, […]