Sioux City

The mayors of five cities in the Sioux City metro are asking local public health officials as well as state officials in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota to reveal more information about Covid-19 cases in their area.

“Provide more comprehensive reporting data to include the specific locations where any outbreak or spread has occurred,” the mayors of Sioux City, Iowa; Sergeant Bluff, Iowa; South Sioux City, Nebraska; North Sioux City, South Dakota and Dakota City, Nebraska, said in a letter all five co-signed.

Local public health officials have refused to say whether a recent surge in Covid-19 cases in the region is linked to a meat packing plant in Dakota City, Nebraska. It’s the largest employer in the Sioux City metro area. The letter from the five mayors directly asks any area business to publicly reveal if there’s been an outbreak of the virus among employees.

“This includes accurate information to employees and the public about any confirmed cases in their facilities and the steps they’re taking to protect their employees,” the letter reads. “This information should be shared in a response plan to reduce the spread of the disease in their facilities and our community.”

The mayors are asking any business that’s the site of an outbreak to close until they develop a response plan. The group of city leaders also referred to regional closures related to the pandemic.

“Our priority is the health and safety of our citizens,” the mayors said in their letter. “To that end, we urge Governor Reynolds, Governor Rickets and Governor Noem to act cautiously in lifting current restrictions across the three-state region too soon.”

Earlier today, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced restaurants, bars, fitness clubs and retail businesses in 77 Iowa counties may reopen on May 1st. The four Iowa counties adjacent to Woodbury County are included in that opening-for-business zone.

(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)