As COVID-19 cases fall in the county, Wapello County Public Health looks to a return to normal

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 10:17 PM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - Although the Wapello County’s vaccination numbers are at about half of where Public Health says they need to be to reach herd immunity, Wapello County Public Health is looking ahead to its to more non-pandemic roles in the county.

“It’s a huge sigh of relief,” says Director Lynelle Diers. “It has been a pretty intense 18 months.

But in moving forward, their role won’t change, she asserts. “We are here for the community. Our whole goal is to keep our community well.”

The department deals a lot with tests and vaccines. For instance, they give vaccinations to children for all sorts of various diseases and viruses. And checks for blood pressure, tuberculosis, DNA testing, foot clinics, and a biannual general wellness exam that involves 25 different screening tests.

However, dealing with COVID-19 isn’t off the table. According to Diers, it may never be. “We still have a long way to go,” she says, in regards to reaching herd immunity. Public Health will continue to provide all three FDA-approved vaccines, and keep up with contract tracing people who test positive for the virus.

As much as Wapello County Public Health has been in the spotlight the last 18 months, that’s not where Diers says they do best. “When you don’t hear a lot about us, that’s usually a good thing because that means we’re doing out job.”

It’s out of a long winter, into some semblance of normalcy for a health department, that’s seen anything but for months.

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