COVID-19 cases are decreasing in Johnson County, reaching the lower 200s, in the past seven days. Johnson County is continuing to promote vaccinations and masking as flu season approaches.
Across Johnson County, COVID-19 cases have decreased, but health professionals are continuing to promote vaccinations and mask-wearing.
“We continue to promote vaccines and provide the off-site mandates or provide the information for folks can make that informed decision,” said Sam Jarvis, Johnson County community health division manager.
COVID-19 hospitalizations also decreased around the state, but hospitals have still seen staffing shortages — and just ahead of the start of flu season, Jarvis reported at the Oct. 19 Iowa City City Council Meeting.
“We know that we’re during flu season, too, and we’re unsure what that will look like,” Jarvis said.
Jarvis said this flu season will look different from last year’s because officials know how to monitor the virus.
“We hope that the good practices and behaviors that we’ve all been practicing can stay in place so that we can also curve transmission as well,” Jarvis said.
With the spread of respiratory viruses like the flu, Jarvis and Johnson County is thankful for the many parts of Iowa City that have set up rapid test pick-up sites. Across Johnson County, there are 15 testing sites.
“As we enter respiratory virus season so for those who become symptomatic, we will continue to encourage and urge folks to get tested so that they know and make those informed decisions,” Jarvis said.
Although cases are decreasing, Iowa City is still a high transmission community. Johnson County and Jarvis, following the advice of the CDC, are urging community members to continue to wear masks.
“We are seeing that decrease happen, but we hope that that trend continues on and then we can eventually get to low transmission,” Jarvis said.
Johnson County is currently waiting for updates on Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots as well as vaccination for 5 to 11 year olds.
Mayor Bruce Teague asked Jarvis what schools are doing to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Iowa City Community School District has enforced a mask mandate on school properties. This decision has helped curb cases and transmission, Jarvis said.
“Our school district superintendent Matt Baker noted that they’re been able to implement a mass requirement and thus produce positive results. And everything that it has helped one keep cases and transmission low in schools. And that has also helped reduce quarantine,” Jarvis said.