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Iowa Hospitals No Longer Required to Report Home County of Patients Being Treated for COVID

December 01, 2021 10:04am

Iowa public health officials have stopped requiring hospitals to report the home county of patients being treated for COVID-19, even as all 99 counties have a high rate of spread, and hospitalizations are at their highest level since early October.

Iowa Department of Public Health spokeswoman Sarah Ekstrand on Tuesday confirmed the change in reporting requirements.

Ekstrand said that early in the pandemic the home county was used to help public health officials track virus activity and seriousness of infection, but it is no longer needed for that purpose.

Dr. Megan Srinivas, an Iowa-based infectious disease physician and public health researcher, expressed concern about the policy change because it hampers local public health efforts and reduces transparency for the general public.

The latest information on the state's coronavirus website shows 721 Iowans are hospitalized due to COVID. At the beginning of November, there were 466 hospitalized because of the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday listed all of Iowa’s 99 counties as having a high level of community COVID spread. Iowa's seven-day moving average is over 13-hundred cases per day, up from fewer than one-thousand cases per day at the beginning of November. Buena Vista County has had 13 positive tests in the last week, for a positivity rate of three-percent. Cherokee County has had 62 positive COVID tests in the last week, for a positivity rate of 13-percent.

Over 56-percent of eligible Iowans are fully vaccinated against COVID, according to the CDC, which ranks 24th in the nation. Over 62-percent of eligible Buena Vista County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID, the second-highest percentage of Iowa's 99 counties.

Buena Vista County Public Health provides COVID vaccine, including boosters, at their office on Fridays.