SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. — With most public pools closed this summer to the general public, backyard pools are becoming increasingly popular. But how can you keep your kids safe around the water?
According to the World Health Organization, drowning is one of the top 5 causes of death for children under the age of 14, but there are steps parents can take to help keep their kids safe around the water.
One of the most important things you can do is to teach your kid to always ask for permission before entering any type of water, on top of teaching them important life-saving skills like back floating and pushing off the bottom of the pool to reach the water's edge.
If you teach kids the skills to protect themselves and save themselves, that's hugely impactful.
Getting kids comfortable in the water can help them stay calm and parents can start this process with their kids during bath time.
"Getting them comfortable with getting that water in their face. If they are in the bathtub, splash their face, put that cup on top," said Cailee Trudo of the Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA. "If they know how to blow bubbles with the bubble stick, then they can blow bubbles in the pool. You can have them blow bubbles in the bathtub, start with their chin, then their lips, then their nose, just blowing those bubbles."
Trudo is the Aquatics Director at the Y and teaches those skills during swimming lessons.
"Teaching them how to control their breath, blow bubbles, roll over onto their back, kick back to the side or push back, teaching them not to be scared if they fall in the water," she said of the skills taught during swim lessons.
The Y has modified their swim lessons this summer during COVID-19, giving parents the chance to participate in the lessons by being in the water with their young children, with the swim instructor walking them through each skill.
One safety skill kids learn is how they can help someone, by using a simple pool toy.
"We teach a thing called 'reach or throw, don't go.' If you have pool noodles or a long stick, you can teach the older kiddos to reach into the pool and pull people back to the side, they don't want to get in the water to save somebody," Trudo said.
Overall, swimming can be an enjoyable and fun activity for everyone, just remember to always stay safe around the water.
SEE THE VIDEO
SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. — It's been nearly three months since the Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA last welcomed members and the community inside, closing down to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
While the facility was closed, the staff at the Y stayed busy helping those impacted by COVID-19.
"The YMCA's mission is all about strengthening the foundations of our community so that's what we tried to do during this crisis." CEO Rhonda Robson and her staff have stayed busy while the facility was shut down.
The Y partnered with other organizations and businesses, like Tyson Fresh Meats and the Food Bank of Siouxland to distribute food, handing out nearly a quarter of a million pounds of food to Siouxlanders in need.
But on Monday, June 1st, the Y is unlocking its doors and welcoming back its members, but there are some new protocols in place to keep everyone safe.
"We are going based on the 10-person rule in the areas that we are opening and making sure that we have 6 feet in all directions," Robson said of the new protocols in place at the Y.
Following CDC recommendations, class sizes will be no more than 10 people, equipment on the wellness floor has been spaced out and lap swimmers will need to reserve a lane in the fitness pool.
"Our areas are spread out so that way, we have more than 6 feet between each individual piece of equipment," Robson said. "Plus there is only a certain amount of people that can be in the area at one time."
Everyone will be required to wear a mask to enter and exit the building and in common areas. They are optional on the exercise floor. Those entering the building will have their temperature checked and there will be an increase in sanitization throughout the facility.
"We have staff, we have members cleaning and then we are shutting down in the middle of the day, completely shutting our doors, deep cleaning and then reopening back up for the vulnerable population for the first hour after we reopen back up in the afternoon and then back open to the general membership."
As the Y prepares to welcome back its members, staff want everyone to know that they are all in this together.
"We just want you to know, we're doing the best that we possibly can in order to make sure that this YMCA is as safe as it possibly can be," Robson said. "I think all of us need to realize that although there are different restrictions in different areas, we are all in this together. And I think that is the biggest thing. The YMCA is here to build up the community, to strengthen it in a time of crisis and we just want to be that community center that helps strengthen the foundations of our community."
The Y is reopening in 4 phases with Monday's opening beginning with Phase 1A. For more on what is in each phase and more details about their reopening, following the Y on Facebook and visit their website.
The Y will also be offering Summer Care as an alternative to their traditional Summer Camp as well as youth swimming lessons.
SEE THE VIDEO
WOODBURY COUNTY, Iowa — The state of Iowa has been fighting COVID-19 for nearly three months and the state health department has created a website with detailed up-to-the-minute statistics broken out by county and statewide. Below, we've broken down some of those numbers for the state and here in Woodbury County. All numbers were taken from the state dashboard between 1:30 and 2 p.m. May 25th.
Positive CasesThe state of Iowa announced its first 3 positive COVID-19 cases on March 3rd.
Statewide: 17,577 confirmed positive cases
Statewide: 9,377 recovered
Deaths36 of Iowa's 99 counties have reported deaths linked to COVID-19, most in central and eastern Iowa.
Statewide: 459 deaths reported
Hospitalization: RMCC Region 3A majority of Siouxland sits in RMCC Region 3. There are 6 regions in Iowa.
Statewide: 498,438 test completed
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — We've reached the end of the deadliest five-day stretch in Woodbury County since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Siouxland District Health department confirmed one new death Friday, bringing our total deaths this week to 9 and our overall total to 26. That means nearly one-third of Woodbury County's deaths have come in just the past five days.
The county also adding 20 new cases since Thursday night for a total of 2,468.
The Siouxland District Health Department says the number of people tested in the county continues to rise and the number of new cases is on a downward trend.
Siouxland District Health Department has identified the following two indicators to use for measurement in making decisions related to what mitigation strategies should be continued. This is intended to serve as a guideline to re-opening services while mitigating the risk of a resurgence of the COVID-19 illness and to protect our vulnerable populations. This data reflects Woodbury County only.
The case report indicator is intended to identify communities experiencing sustained decreases in the number of new cases occurring each day; an indication of decreases in disease transmission.
Percent positive is calculated as number of positive tests for the week divided by the total test results reported for the week, with total test results defined as the sum of positive and negative tests. Laboratory test percent positive can be used in combination with, or as an alternative to, observing a decline in new case reports. In circumstances where testing is adequate and testing practices are largely stable, percent positive can be a reliable indicator of COVID-19 activity.
About 10% of the county's population has now been tested and while more cases are being identified, there are fewer new cases each day than there were at the start of the month. They say that's clear when you look at the weekly tracking data, which is now what they're analyzing to track the spread of the virus locally.
"That's still a lot of cases, it doesn't mean we're out of the woods yet but what it shows, we're looking in moving in a positive direction, and what I would remind to the residents is this is due to their diligent work and some of the responsibilities that they have shoulders as residents of Woodbury County," said Kevin Grieme, Director of the Siouxland District Health Dept. "We looked at some of the restrictions that we have, our businesses are opening up and that type of stuff. We think it's important that the residents understand that they've had an impact on what it is."
They say the downward trend is also clear in the percentage of positive tests which peaked at nearly half of all tests at the end of April but is down to around 16%.
Two local fire departments also gave an update on the impact of the pandemic on their work.
May 17-23, 2020 is the 46th annual National EMS Week. This week, first authorized in 1974, celebrates EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation’s communities.
Sioux City Fire Rescue says they have not had any members test positive for COVID-19 and are taking precautions ahead of each call to prepare, like having dispatch ask questions when someone calls the emergency line to see if they are COVID-positive or have been exposed. SCFR says they are utilizing PPE for all first responders to keep both themselves and the public safe.
"We are fortunate that none of our frontline responders have been COVID-19 to date, despite the numerous calls they have responded to involving potentially or confirmed COVID patients," said Sioux City Fire Marshal, Mark Aesoph.
Sioux City Fire Rescue answers approximately 25 medical emergencies per day and has transported close to 14,000 patients since taking over the 911 ambulance service in Sioux City on January 1, 2018. This involved hiring 27 new employees to staff our EMS Ambulance Section. In December 2019, SCFR was accredited through the Council on Accreditation of Ambulance Services, a mere 23 months after taking over this important role.
In Sergeant Bluff, they are also seeing the impact of COVID-19 on their community. They've made smaller emergency response kits to help cut down on sanitization times after calls. Fire Chief Anthony Gaul says he is thankful for the help they've received from the public.
"We are grateful for the Emergency Operations Center being able to get us face masks now, to add with the full set of coveralls, the boot covers, the N95 masks and the glasses," sais Fire Chief Anthony Gaul.
Meanwhile, the Siouxland District Health Department will not be providing a report this weekend, they will resume on Tuesday, May 26th, after Memorial Day weekend.
Web articles from my time at Siouxland News.