Some rural counties see increase in COVID cases as state sees overall decrease

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 6:18 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -COVID-19 cases in Iowa are down this week compared to last, but some rural counties are seeing a rise in positive tests.

“That number is higher than you know what we were seeing a couple of months ago,” Emily Tokheim explained, Washington County Public Health Administrator.

Washington County has had 280 reported positive cases in the last week. We are told messaging surrounding the virus has been a challenge.

“Getting back to the basics of that message of stay home if you’re sick is one big challenge that we’ve been seeing and trying to address really quickly here in our department,” Tokheim said.

It’s a message Buchanan County echoes. They’ve seen an average of around 25 positive cases each day, a number that has doubled since last month, leading the county to 173 positive cases in the last week.

“We know that we have people out in the community that are positive and infectious and going about their business without masking. So please, follow the CDC guidelines and stay home when you’re sick,” Tai Burkhart said, Director of Buchanan County Public Health.

County health departments are still encouraging people to get vaccinated.

“What we’re hearing at least from the providers is that the people who are vaccinated are not as sick. So we may see them still be admitted to the hospital but they’re not the sickest patients in the ICU,” Burkhart explained.

The state reports 68.5% of COVID patients in Iowa’s ICU’s are not fully vaccinated.

“Here in Washington County Public Health we are continuing to offer weekly walk-in COVID vaccination clinics,” Tokheim said.

Just 55% of people in Washington County, and 52% of people in Buchanan County are fully vaccinated. Nearly two years into the pandemic, leaders say it’s important people continue to follow CDC guidelines.

“People are pretty complacent now. We’re all tired of it, we all want to be done with it but it’s not over,” Burkhart said.

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