February 12, 2021
Linn County Public Health held a virtual media briefing on February 8 to provide updates on Linn County COVID-19 response and Phase 1B vaccination efforts. Watch the video or read the news release.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Iowa activated the Retail Pharmacy Program this week. In Linn County, select Hy-Vee locations and Clark’s Pharmacy are participating pharmacies. Limited vaccines are available in select locations to persons 65 years of age and older. Do not call or walk-in to pharmacies to request vaccine. Appointments are required, and are expected to fill quickly. Please visit the Hy-Vee and Clark’s Pharmacy websites for information on how to schedule an appointment.
Within the past week, Heritage Area Agency on Aging announced they are able to assist with connecting older adults to vaccine providers and transportation services. Older adults wanting to contact their Area Agency on Aging in Iowa should call 1-866-468-7887. Additionally, Linn County LIFTS announced transportation assistance is available to Linn County residents with scheduled COVID-19 vaccination appointments. Rides are available from 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Saturday. County residents with scheduled and confirmed vaccination appointments can contact LIFTS by phone at 319-892-5170 or by e-mail at [email protected] between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to request next-day transportation.
At this time, vaccinated persons should continue to follow current guidance to protect themselves and others, including wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces, covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands often, following CDC travel guidance, and following any applicable workplace or school guidance, including guidance related to personal protective equipment use or SARS-CoV-2 testing.
Linn County began offering vaccine to Tier 1, Group 2 populations this week. It will take several weeks to offer vaccine to the entire Group 2 population.
Vaccine remains in short supply, and not everyone in Phase 1B will be able to get vaccine right away. It may take weeks to months for the Phase 1B populations to receive vaccine.
For the week of February 15, LCPH will allocate 60% of county vaccine to the Tier 1 population and 40% to persons 65 and older. This is an effort to ensure balance of vaccine available in Linn County to persons 65 and older, prioritized frontline workers, and specific populations vulnerable to high risk of exposure or severity of illness. Vaccine is available within Linn County to persons 65 and older through the Retail Pharmacy Program.
Persons 65 years and older
- Due to the limited amount of vaccine available, appointments are required, and are anticipated to fill quickly. Additional appointments will be opened as supply increases.
- Vaccine providers ask that patients do not call or walk-in to their clinics requesting the vaccine at this time. You may also check your healthcare provider’s website for additional information and instructions for making an appointment.
- If you do not have a primary health care provider, please contact Linn County Public Health at 319-892-6097 for assistance.
- For more information on vaccine for persons 65 and older, visit: https://www.linncounty.org/1514/Adults-65
- Due to the limited supply of vaccine, vaccine will be prioritized to identified groups within Tier 1.
- Considerations for prioritization within Tier 1 include high risk of exposure, severity of illness, and ensuring sustainability of frontline workers.
- Additionally, Tier 1 agencies and organizations will be asked to prioritize vaccine within their organization.
For more information on vaccine for identified populations for Tiers 1-5, visit: https://www.linncounty.org/1517/COVID-19-Vaccine-Phase-1B
Vaccine Distribution Highlights
- Current Phase: Phase 1B, Tier 1
- Projected time to next phase: Unknown
- Populations included within Phase 1B:
- Persons 65 years and older
- Prioritized frontline workers and specific populations vulnerable to high risk of exposure or severity of illness
- Progress within Phase 1B:
- Beginning January 26, Linn County began offering vaccine to persons 65 years of age and older. There are 36,000 people 65 and older in Linn County.
- Beginning February 1, Tier 1 populations were eligible to be vaccinated. There are approximately 11,000 people in Tier 1, Groups 1-5.
- Beginning February 11, Tier 1, Group 2 populations began receiving vaccinations. This includes early childhood education staff, school transportation staff, childcare centers with 10 or more staff, preK-5th grade building teachers and staff, and Grant Wood Area Education Agency staff working with preK- 5th grade students.
- Vaccine will continue to be offered to Phase 1A and Phase 1B, Tier 1, Group 2 populations as they are identified and request vaccine. Those populations should complete the employer vaccine form to request vaccination.
- Groups to be offered vaccine next:
- Phase 1B, Tier 2
- The Iowa Infectious Disease Advisory Council has recommended priority populations for Phase 1C, which include individuals 65 years of age and older and individuals 64 years of age and younger with medical conditions that are or may be an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
- IDAC had recommended on January 11 for Phase 1B to include Iowans age 75 and older, and other Iowans who are vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19 or high-risk for illness as the result of a COVID-19 infection.
- Governor Reynolds announced on January 21 individuals 65 years of age and older would be eligible in Phase 1B.
- Projected time to next phase: Unknown
- A report of COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Administered in Iowa by county is posted at https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/:
- 31,792 doses have been administered by Linn County providers, with 8,739 vaccine series complete by Linn County providers
Linn County Public Health (LCPH) is compiling information from employers to help link employers and their staff to agencies administering the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available. LCPH has developed an employer vaccine form for employers interested in offering COVID-19 vaccine to their employees.
- Employers who have employees in Phase 1B should complete the form now, if they have not done so already. Phase 1A populations that have not yet received vaccine can still complete the form.
- Those that have already completed the form do not need to do so again.
- It is best to access the form in Chrome.
- We recommend filling out the comments section with exactly what you do, where you go, and what patient contact you have (if any). This helps LCPH place you accordingly for vaccine.
- Complete the form here, or direct link is: https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/891d3217630c46cebd1b5db8bba47b8a?portalUrl=https://lcgis.linncounty.org/portal
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released COVID-19 vaccination communication toolkits for Essential Workers and Community Based Organizations. These toolkits can be used by organizations to help plan for and encourage COVID-19 in the workplace and within the community.
For questions about COVID-19 vaccine in Linn County:
Please sign up to receive email notifications for COVID-19 Status Updates to keep up-to-date on vaccine rollout updates and other important information regarding COVID-19 response. For assistance with signing up for updates, view this video. In addition to the Linn County COVID-19 vaccine website LinnCounty.org/Vaccine, updates will also be shared on Facebook and Twitter. For questions on COVID-19 vaccine in Linn County, call 319-892-6097. Stay tuned to local news outlets for updated information.
Preventing Spread of COVID-19
Mask Mandates are still in effect in Linn County. Scientific studies have shown that wearing a face mask reduces the spread of the coronavirus.
Spring break is around the corner. As you consider your spring break plans, keep in mind the following recommendations and requirements for traveling:
- CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time. Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. If you do travel, follow all CDC recommendations before, during, and after travel.
- All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States.
- Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
This weekend is Valentine’s Day. Follow CDC’s tips for a Safer Valentine’s Day.
COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Update
As more people receive their COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC has updated close contact guidance for individuals who are fully vaccinated.
Vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:
- Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
- Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series
- Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure
Persons who do not meet all 3 of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
Linn County Case Count Data
- Active cases: 1,914
- Total cases to date: 19,043
- Currently hospitalized: 25
- Total deaths: 316
- Total recovered: 16,813
Additional data on COVID-19 cases is available on Linn County’s case count dashboard.
Linn County Metrics
- Test Positivity Rate*: 18.0%
- *Percent of positive tests to date since beginning of pandemic
- 7-Day Test Positivity Rate: 6.0%
- 14-Day Test Positivity Rate: 8.3%
- Current Recommendation for Actions to Combat Increase in COVID-19: Tier 2, effective January 25, 2021
Additional Linn County metrics are available on Linn County’s metrics dashboard.
For more COVID-19 information specific to Linn County, visit LinnCounty.org/COVID19.