JCPH begins plans for COVID vaccine distribution

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     While the Jones County COVID-19 positivity rate has gone down below 50 percent (36.6 percent as of Nov. 24), Public Health Coordinator Jenna Lovaas noted that “it’s still bad.”

     Seventeen county residents were still hospitalized at this point due to the virus. Public Health reported 22 deaths, which includes nine from long-term care facilities, five from the Anamosa State Penitentiary, and eight members of the general population.

     Since the pandemic began in mid-March, Jones County has seen a total of 1,256 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Almost 500 have recovered from recent cases.

     Cases increases include:

     • Last 14 days – 428

     • Last seven days – 149

     • Last three days – 31

     Since an outbreak at the prison was reported a few weeks ago, a total of 1,929 inmates had been tested, with 741 no longer positive. Seventy-six inmates still remain positive. Twenty-eight staff members are also positive, with 112 recovered (no longer positive).

     Lovaas shared that there has been new evidence on the effectiveness of facemasks released by the CDC, stemming from a study in the State of Kansas. Within an approximate six-week timeframe, counties that implemented a mask mandate saw a 6 percent decrease in their COVID-19 cases. While counties that did not implement a mandate saw a 100 percent increase in cases.

     During the Nov. 24 Jones County Supervisor meeting Lovaas said she had been in contact with local schools regarding their Return to Learn plans, or switching from two weeks of online learning back to in-person again. (Both the Monticello and Anamosa school districts received waivers from the state to spend two weeks online prior to Thanksgiving break.)

     “The schools frequently ask me for updates,” Lovaas told the board of supervisors. “I’ve been talking to Monticello quite a bit.”

     Supervisor Ned Rohwedder complimented Lovaas regarding a letter the board received from Debbie Moser, owner of Moser School of Dance and Gymnastics. Moser was thanking JCPH for their help and guidance throughout the pandemic and her conducting classes in Monticello.

     “It’s good to hear those things,” Rohwedder praised.

     Lovaas agreed, saying it’s a nice change of pace to hear the positive comments versus the negative all the time.

     JCPH is also busy working on plans for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. She said the Iowa Department of Public Health will take care of getting vaccines to those within the prison system, including Anamosa.

     The CDC has established partnership agreements with national pharmaceutical chains to provide vaccination services for residents and staff at long-term care facilities. Starting Oct. 15, these facilities could register for on-site vaccination clinics. Then in November, pharmacy partners began coordinating with long-term care facilities for scheduling.

     JCPH is also taking charge of contact tracing and case investigations for youth in Jones County. Lovaas said it’s a way to help the schools out.


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