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Why Monroe County could have the highest COVID-19 positivity rate in Iowa

Updated: Jul. 26, 2021 at 9:00 PM CDT
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MONROE COUNTY, Iowa (KYOU) - The highest positivity rate in Iowa...Monroe County. The Iowa Department of Public Health shows 32-percent of the county’s COVID-19 tests...come back positive. The next highest positivity rate...nearly half that: 17% in Adair and Harrison County.

While the delta variant of COVID-19 isn’t confirmed in Monroe County, the local Public Health administrator says based on the data she can safely make “the assumption, yeah, we probably have it in Monroe County.”

Couple that with a vaccine rate of 37% and greatly lessened mask-wearing and social distancing in the county, and Hugen says it’s no surprise cases are rising. “People are tired of it. I get the frustration, and everyone wants normality again. But I think that probably explains the reason. We’re having fairs again, we’re having summer activities again.”

At the same time, Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks is making a push to get people vaccinated - to shake them off fears of a potentially rushed vaccine. “No safety corners were cut, just red tape, and President Trump got us a vaccine in record time.” That’s coming as very few Iowa counties have hit a 50% vaccination rate.

Miller-Meeks says “with a vaccination rate and natural immunity, which we don’t know what that is, unless you have the numbers for everyone who contracted COVID-19 and recovered - if that’s under 50%, it’s not enough to protect the entire community.”

But in Monroe County, even some vaccinated people are contracting COVID-19. Monroe County Public Health’s Facebook page says in July’s 30 COVID-19 cases, 20% of those cases came from vaccinated people.

However, Hugen says people shouldn’t be surprised, and to not take it as an example of vaccines being ineffective. “That doesn’t necessarily say how sick someone is when they’re positive. That’s just saying people that have been vaccinated can still get it COVID-19. And we knew that ahead: this is not 100%.”

Here’s a link to the full interview with Rep. Miller-Meeks.

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