May 21, 2021
The Iowa House and Senate passed House file 847 on May 19, which Governor Reynolds signed into law on May 20. This new law in Iowa prohibits cities, counties and K-12 schools from mandating masks. The law does not prohibit businesses from requiring customers or employees to wear masks.
The CDC recommends unvaccinated individuals continue to practice prevention measures such as wearing a mask and social distancing. To learn more, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for fully vaccinated individuals.
Linn County Public Health removed the Actions to Combat Increase in COVID-19 guidance document from the COVID-19 webpage on May 20, 2021.
Linn County will reopen County facilities to the public on June 7, 2021 after being closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Safety protocols and alternative service options will remain in place. Learn more.
School and Childcare Guidance
On Friday, May 14, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) Issued Updated COVID-19 Guidance to Schools and Child Care Settings, which changed exclusion criteria and quarantine guidance, removing the requirement that students exposed to a positive case stay home from school. Finally, the guidance from IDPH stated schools and child care settings should provide parents and students with the option to make their own decision about mask usage.
Linn County Public Health carefully reviewed the newly issued guidance from IDPH and compared these recommendations to the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Prevention and Guidance for Operating Child Care Programs during COVID-19. Linn County Public Health is recommending schools and childcares maintain prevention strategies in alignment with CDC guidance. On May 15, 2021, CDC issued an update recommending continuation of current COVID-19 prevention strategies through the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year.
The recommended prevention strategies include a layered approach, and are focused on five key strategies, with prioritization of the first two strategies:
- Universal and correct use of masks
- Physical distancing
- Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
- Cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities
- Contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine
These science-based prevention strategies have allowed schools and childcare centers to offer safer in-person learning and services throughout the pandemic. Maintaining prevention measures in school and childcare settings is consistent with CDCs newly released guidance for fully vaccinated individuals, as even students whom are eligible for vaccine will not be fully vaccinated by the end of the school year, and this allows organizations the time needed to make systems and policy adjustments.
The use of face masks have been a safe and effective tool to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and Linn County Public Health recommends encouraging mask use in school settings through the remainder of the school year and until CDC guidance is updated otherwise for childcares. For more information on mask use guidance, visit CDC’s Guidance for Wearing Masks webpage or the respective school or childcare guidance CDC webpages.
Finally, Linn County Public Health will continue to follow CDC guidance on case investigations and contact tracing for COVID-19. For anyone that has been exposed to COVID-19 and is identified as a close contact, Linn County Public Health will recommend quarantine for the appropriate period of time.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Linn County Public Health has released a new COVID-19 Vaccine Public Service Announcement which encourages everyone who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine to get one and get back to life.
Today is the GetVax Digital Day of Action from the We Can Do This campaign at the Department of Health and Human Services. For the Digital Day of Action, the goal is centered on mobilizing partners to create momentum online and reach people who haven’t received or may be waiting to get the vaccine. We ask our partner organizations and influencers to share online and help reach people who haven’t received the vaccine or who may be waiting to get vaccinated. Finding a vaccine is easy, and there are many local places to get a vaccine. Please use the #WeCanDoThis hashtag when posting to social media accounts.
All Iowans age 12 and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
For help with getting a vaccine:
- Most local vaccine providers are offering walk-in appointments.
- Check with the pharmacy or clinic first to ask about walk-in availability.
- Find a vaccine provider at Vaccines.gov
- Text your ZIP code to 438829
- Call 211 or 800-244-7431. Vaccine navigation services are open to anyone 16 years old or older. Translation services are available.
- Homebound individuals can call Linn County Public Health at 319-892-6097
Linn County will receive 3,510 doses of COVID-19 vaccine the week of May 24. This is less than the full allocation that was offered to Linn County Public Health from the Iowa Department of Public Health. Linn County Public Health did not take the full allotment of vaccine for the coming week due to decreasing demand for vaccine, and due to many local providers receiving large amounts of federally allocated vaccine.
Vaccine Distribution Highlights
- Vaccination progress among select populations as of May 21, 2021
- Age 75 and older (15,813 people)
- 82.8% of the Linn County population have begun or completed vaccination
- 78.2% of the Linn County population are fully vaccinated
- Age 65 and older (36,529 people)
- 84.8% of the Linn County population have begun or completed vaccination
- 79.8% of the Linn County population are fully vaccinated
- Age 16 and older (180,375 people)
- 62.3% of the Linn County population have begun or completed vaccination
- 55.0% of the Linn County population are fully vaccinated
- Age 12 and older (192,403 people)
- 59.5% of the Linn County population have begun or completed vaccination
- 51.6% of the Linn County population are fully vaccinated
- Total population (226,706 people)
- 50.5% of the entire Linn County population have begun or completed vaccination
- 43.8% of the Linn County population are fully vaccinated
- A report of COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Dashboard by county is posted at https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/
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. Stay tuned to local news outlets for updated information.
Linn County Case Count Data
- Active cases: 1,127
- Currently hospitalized: 12
- Total deaths: 347
- Total recovered: 19,506
- Total cases to date: 20,980
Note: The State of Iowa has transitioned from reporting positive individuals to positive tests. Linn County will continue to report positive individuals. Therefore, numbers from the state and Linn County dashboard will not match.
Additional data on COVID-19 cases is available on Linn County’s case count dashboard.
Linn County Metrics
- Test Positivity Rate*: 17.0%
- *Percent of positive tests to date since beginning of pandemic
- 7-Day Test Positivity Rate: 4.4%
- 14-Day Test Positivity Rate: 4.9%
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.