County’s COVID positivity rate slides for second day

State shows 0 positive cases for the county for Tuesday, but LCHD shows 28 over the last two reporting days

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

LEE COUNTY – The coronavirus positivity rate for Lee County for Wednesday has dropped to 17% from all time high of more than 18% last week.

The county still ranks as the seventh highest county in the state with regard to the positivity rating, but for the first time since Aug. 2, the state website didn’t report a positive case for a 24-hour reporting period on Tuesday.

The Lee County Health Department, however reported 18 additional cases from 3:30 p.m. Tuesday to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Both departments reported 446 total cases for the county on Wednesday at 3:30 pm. Tuesday’s LCHD report indicated 10 new cases for the 24-hour period from 3:30 p.m. Monday to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The 14-day rolling rate of positive cases was 221 on Wednesday, down from 245 on Tuesday.

Governor Kim Reynolds said at her press conference Wednesday that last week Iowa had the highest rate of increase in the nation, and had the 5th highest positivity rate in the country.

When questioned by a pool reporter as to why the Governor isn’t following recommendations from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Reynolds said she still believes those decisions fall to the states.

“We are doing some of the things, but I believe its up to the governors and various states to make those decisions,” she said.

Reynolds also said the federal agencies may not be aware of all the things the state is doing on it’s own to mitigate the spread, including closing bars, taverns, and breweries in six counties.

The state has also reopened the small business grant program for two weeks to allow those businesses closed to apply for a one-time grant for up to $10,000 to help offset losses during the closures.

Reynolds again pointed to college age adults 19-24 as the main reason for the state’s increase in positive cases. She said in Johnson County between 8/23 and 8/29 the county had a positivity rating of 29.7% with 91% of the new cases being in the 19-24 age range.

Iowa State kicks off the football season next Saturday and will allow 25,000 people into Jack Trice Stadium.

“If you have underlying conditions and are part of a vulnerable population, maybe you don’t go to the Iowa State football game next week,” she said.

“There allowing 25,000 into a stadium of 65,100. It’s outdoors. You should wear a mask, and I think if we put mitigation steps in place, we can continue to move forward. We’re playing football on Friday nights. we played softball and baseball all summer… If you don’t think it’s safe – don’t go.”

When the reporter tried to press the governor on the student population at the game, considering that age bracket is the highest transmission demographic, Reynolds said she’d answered the question and moved on.

She said the decisions to close businesses are not taken lightly, but said some owners are not adhering to guidelines and after repeated efforts to educate and warn of future penalties, she decided to shut them down.

“It has really been a tough year. I don’t take these decisions lightly and they are based on the data and the numbers we’ve been seeing.

When asked why Iowa was seeing such a dramatic increase in positive cases at state universities, when other states aren’t seeing the same impacts, Reynolds said she’d been watching the news and she believes those states will eventually see similar results.

With regard to data and inconsistent reporting from counties and clinics feeding into the state’s website, Reynolds said in part the confusion is that the state doesn’t get complete information, including addresses, that feed into the system.

“So by the time we get that information, there’s an adjustment from the county that it came from,” she said.

The coronavirus.iowa.gov site went through some scheduled maintenance over the weekend, so that caused a few disruptions, she said, calling the state’s reporting system antiquated.

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