Scott County found itself at the top of a list Wednesday — ranked second in the state for the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in the past three weeks.
The county had 986 confirmed cases on July 10. As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, state officials confirmed 1,509 cases. The increase of 523 cases ranked behind Polk County and just ahead of Dubuque County.
Those three counties represent 36.9% of the new cases confirmed over the course of the past three weeks. The numbers were made available through a report issued by the White House’s coronavirus task force.
Iowa has been handed the dubious distinction of being a “red zone” state, indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week. The state is considered “yellow zone” for test positivity, indicating a positive rate between 5% and 10%.
Scott County did remain in the yellow zone. The counties of Dubuque, Marshall, Franklin, Wapello, Hardin, Emmett, Lyon and Montgomery are considered red zones. All told, the state now has 61 counties classified as either red or yellow zones.
The recognition of Scott County by the White House’s task force will come as no surprise to local health officials. As Scott County Medical Director Dr. Louis Katz and Scott County Health Department Director Ed Rivers have pointed out, the county has shown troubling trends since mid-June.
On July 1, Scott County Health Department officials reported 659 COVID-19 cases. Over the course of the past 29 days, the county has seen an increase of 850 cases, which means over half of the county’s infections have been confirmed in a single month.
Yet infection increases were well underway as the calendar turned from June to July.
On June 19, Rivers noted the county confirmed 418 positive cases of COVID-19 and remarked that the infection rate “remained low” and the county was “averaging less than two new cases a day for the last 30 days.”
The date was significant because just one week earlier, on June 12, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds lifted the 50% capacity restrictions on all bars and restaurants. Rivers, Katz and other health officials throughout the county expressed concern over the moves, especially questioning if social distancing could be maintained.
Those concerns have been realized.
In the 21-day span from June 19 — one week after the reopen — to July 10, Scott County saw confirmed cases jump 568 cases, from 418 to 986.
Scott County’s death toll remained at 11.
Scott County’s rise in positive cases mirrors a great deal of the state. On June 12, officials reported 23,096 positive cases. By Wednesday the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state stood at 43,277.
Those numbers prompted hundreds of physicians from all over the state of Iowa to sign an open letter urging Reynolds to issue a statewide public face-covering order.
The physicians will host a news conference on the west steps of the State Capitol at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1, to speak out about the issues surrounding the spread of COVID-19 in Iowa. The group will address the latest scientific evidence surrounding face covering use, provide evidence-based public health policy recommendations, and take questions from the media.
The Rock Island County Health Department reported 10 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, bringing the total number to 1,501. A total of 16 patients are hospitalized throughout the county, and the number of deaths remained at 30.
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