Slight increase in new COVID-19 cases for Allamakee County this past week includes Good Samaritan Society-Waukon now on State of Iowa outbreak list

The rollercoaster of COVID-19 cases continued throughout this past week in Allamakee County, as a recent downward trend saw another reversal to a slight increase within the past week’s timeframe of Tuesday, January 19 through Monday, January 25, with 42 new local cases being confirmed. Still, the overall new case total for the county has remained at 50 or fewer for the fifth consecutive week, an overall improvement from the range of 65-110 new cases experienced for the previous eight weeks from mid-October through mid-December.

As one would expect with an uptick in total new cases, Allamakee County’s 14-day positivity rate calculated by the State of Iowa also ventured upward. That positivity trend had faded to as low as 11% earlier this past week, lowering the county into the bottom half of Iowa’s 99 counties, but this past week’s increase to 42 new cases after a previous week total of just 28 new cases pushed Allamakee County’s positivity rate back toward 14% and back within the top 20 among Iowa’s 99 counties.

Additional statistical updates from this past week also offered a rollercoaster of information as the State of Iowa’s most recent update of hospitalizations provided Saturday, January 23 showed no hospitalizations in Allamakee County due to COVID-19. However, tainting this past week’s overall update is the unfortunate news that three additional deaths in Allamakee County have been attributed to the virus, boosting that number to 30 total deaths of Allamakee County residents being associated with COVID-19. The State of Iowa lists the virus as the underlying cause of death in 26 of those fatalities and as a contributing factor in the other four local deaths.

Factored into this past week’s numbers is an outbreak of cases reported by the State of Iowa at Good Samaritan Society-Waukon. As of Monday, January 25, the State of Iowa reports eight confirmed cases at that Waukon long-term care facility that have now resulted in the facility being placed on that State of Iowa outbreak list.

Good Samaritan Society-Postville remains as the only other long-term care facility in Allamakee County currently included on the State of Iowa outbreak list. That facility has had 25 confirmed cases since being added to the list several weeks ago, with one new case confirmed within the past 14 days but 17 of those 25 cases also currently being listed as recovered.

Previously, Thornton Manor in Lansing and Northgate Care Center in Waukon were also on that State of Iowa outbreak list. Both were removed from that list prior to the start of the new year, an action requiring that a facility goes at least 28 days without experiencing any new cases in either residents or staff members.

In its most recent update provided Friday, January 22, the Allamakee Community School District reported that the district only had one student and one staff member test positive since its previous update two weeks earlier, Friday, January 8. The school also reported that just four students were on quarantine protocol as of that January 22 update.

In its daily updated report spreadsheet, the Eastern Allamakee Community School District has reported no students have tested positive yet this new calendar year, with just two students being quarantined earlier last week but since returning to school as of the last update Friday, January 22. The Postville Community School District has been listing the range of one to six positive COVID-19 tests among students in the district since the new year began, with seven students listed as quarantined as of Friday, January 22 and a range of one to six staff members also being listed that day as being absent from school due to either a positive test or quarantine.

Spoiling a second consecutive week in Allamakee County of single-digit case numbers per day was a Wednesday, January 20 report of 16 new cases in the county. On each side of that highest single-day report total since just before Christmas were days of seven new cases being reported for both Tuesday and Thursday, with Friday, January 22 slowing down again to just one new confirmed case. The weekend saw six new cases reported Saturday and three new cases Sunday, with the Monday, January 25 report from the State of Iowa listing just two new cases to round out this past week’s total of 42 new cases within the county.

With the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) now sharing data on statewide COVID-19 vaccine administration, the latest update reported Thursday, January 21 by IDPH showed 786 Allamakee County residents as having received a dose of the vaccine. That number is lower than all three of the most northeast Iowa counties that surround Allamakee but more than double what is being reported as administered by Howard County and more than 100 ahead of Chickasaw County’s most recent pace.

Within that report, IDPH also notes that 64 residents have now completed their COVID-19 vaccine series after receiving their second dose this past week. The current vaccine administration update and future dashboard can be found on the existing website under the “Vaccine Information” link.

Vaccines continue to be administered to populations in the Phase 1A category, which includes health care personnel and residents and staff in long-term care facilities. In the coming weeks this will expand to further reach Iowans in the next priority group of Phase 1B (see the latest update provided on Page 1 of this week’s edition of The Standard).

Until more vaccines, which are currently a scarce resource, are widely available to all, it is critical that Iowans continue to practice the following mitigation measures that can slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus:

• Wear a mask or face covering
• Practice social distancing with those outside an immediate household
• Clean hands frequently with soap and water
• Stay home if feeling ill.

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