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Hamilton County sees COVID case uptick

Health department following 28 positive cases

Hamilton County is seeing an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases and this week the positivity rate has climbed to 15.9 percent.

“Right now, the health department is following about 28 cases,” said Shelby Kroona, Hamilton County Public Health administrator. “That doesn’t sound like a lot, but the biggest concern — just like across the rest of the U.S. — is that 99 percent of the positive cases are unvaccinated people.”

The majority of people with positive cases fall into the age 50 and younger category.

“And nearly all of the people I follow up with are not vaccinated either because they don’t fall into the age category or they have chosen not to be vaccinated yet,” she said.

She said there have been a couple of people who had been vaccinated who tested positive in the past month.

“One was not fully vaccinated and one was fully vaccinated,” she said. “That still seems to be on the rare side, though.”

The TestIowa sites no longer offer in-person testing, but Kroona said home test kits are available at the health department or online at the TestIowa website. The kits, which test a person’s saliva for the virus, are then mailed to the lab for testing.

She said some pharmacies are offering a home test kit that is not a state-identified kit.

“If people have purchased kits and are using those at home, the results don’t get recorded into our database,” she said. “Those results are not reported to the health department.”

The CDC said this month that the delta variant, which is highly transmissible, is now the dominant coronavirus strain across the country. Kroona said the symptoms of the Delta variant are the same as reported for the original virus — persistent cough, headache, fever, sore throat, loss of taste or smell.

The CDC is still recommending the same general public health measures — masks for the unvaccinated, frequent handwashing, staying home when ill, being fever free for 24 hours before returning to work, and avoid large crowds if you don’t know who has been vaccinated.

People who have been vaccinated who then have a break-through case will likely see much milder symptoms, she said.

“People may wonder why get the vaccine if I can still get COVID-19. You’re still protecting people who can’t get the vaccine due to an underlying health condition,” she said. “And it offers the vaccinated person some protective factors. Without it, you may have gotten very ill with the vaccine instead of just experiencing mild symptoms.”

Vaccine is still available through the health department’s Wednesday clinics, or at Thrifty White Pharmacy or the Hy-Vee Pharmacy.

“It’s still super important to get the vaccine,” she said. “It’s our No. 1 fighting mechanism for this virus and the variants.”

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