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Less COVID-19 testing making it harder to track virus activity

Published: Jul. 17, 2021 at 12:12 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Testing for the novel coronavirus in Iowa is decreasing steadily and this trend is affecting counties with lower vaccination rates, with some counties testing fewer than 100 people a week for the virus.

This makes it harder to track virus activity in a county, even though the more contagious delta variant is spreading across the state. State data shows Keokuk County tested around 50 people over a 7-day time period.

Hoyt Gentry, who is a spokesperson for the Keokuk County Health Department, said he can’t force people to get tested. But, he also said the department can’t monitor virus activity in the county as the delta variant spreads.

“We really can’t track COVID without people reporting their symptoms or getting tested,” Gentry said. “That’s all there is to it.”

The vaccination rate in Keokuk County is 36.6%, which is lower than the state’s rate of nearly 50%. It’s also lower than parts of southwest Missouri, where hospitals are over-run with COVID-19 patients. Other counties in southeast Iowa have similar vaccination rates.

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