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Get tested after holiday Gathering

Iowa still in red zone for COVID-19 infection rate

By Amy H. Peterson - | Jan 11, 2021

The newest White House Coronavirus Task Force Report, dated Sunday, found Iowa’s rates of new cases and positive tests re-main in the red zone, the most severe rating, and community transmission is still widespread. However, Iowa’s current rate of 276 new infections per 100,000 is below the national average of 413 per 100,000. The task force placed Iowa in the red because the statewide positivity rate in-creased and 96 of Iowa’s counties have moderate or high levels of community spread. The White House is no longer proactively sending its weekly reports to each state, but states may request to receive them. Officials from the Iowa Department of Public Health confirmed they will not be requesting the report, but they did not give a reason why. The task force suggests health officials’ messaging focus on the proactive testing of people under age 40 to avoid asymptomatic spread to their household members, and a ramp up of recovery antibodies for those at risk for severe disease.

“Every hospital should have outpatient infusion sites immediately available to save lives,” the report stated. With the conclusion of the holiday season, the task force recommended widespread testing. “Iowans must understand that if they were around people outside of their household during the holiday season, they must get tested,” the report stated. The surge of cases that has happened through the fall and into the winter has been at nearly twice the rate of cases in spring and summer surges. The report said without uniform implementation of effective face masking and strict social distancing, epidemics could quickly worsen as new variants of the virus spread and become predominant. In Emmet County, 1,078 people have tested positive since the first positive case reported May 13, 2020. 880 of those are listed as recovered. The definition of recovery is an absence of communicable virus. Those listed as re-covered may still have significant post-viral health issues. There is a specific population of “long-haulers” the health care community continues to learn about in an effort to treat them. Emmet County has a positivity rate of 25.19% as of Sun-day. Twenty-nine Emmet County residents have died from COVID-19.