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COVID-19 Status Update

Posted on: February 26, 2021

Linn County COVID-19 Status Update

LINN COUNTY COVID-19 STATUS UPDATE

February 26, 2021


Third Vaccine Anticipated for Emergency Use

The Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine from Johnson and Johnson was reviewed at the February 26, 2021 Food and Drug Administration meeting and was approved for emergency use. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is anticipated to begin the reviewal and approval process on February 28. The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is stored in the refrigerator and it is a one dose vaccine, which will allow for more flexible use of vaccine administration. Pending approval, Iowa is anticipated to receive 25,600 doses the week of March 1-5. 

Travel Guidance

As spring break approaches and an increasing number of individuals are vaccinated, many people are considering traveling. Some travel requirements are in place, and everyone should follow travel recommendations. Travel increases your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time. Delay travel and stay home to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Travel Requirements

  • Effective January 26, 2021, all air passengers arriving to the United States from a foreign country are required to get tested at least 3 days before traveling by air to the United States. Travelers must show the negative result to the airline before boarding the flight (or show proof of recovery). It is up to the traveler to identify a testing location and schedule the COVID-19 test. 
  • Effective February 1, 2021, masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • Presidential Proclamations exist which restrict travelers from certain areas from entry to the United States. Check the list to see if this applies to you as you plan for travel. 
  • For additional guidance, visit CDC Frequently Asked Questions on Travel https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-international-air-travelers.html 

Travel Recommendations

  • Follow CDC Travel Guidance 
  • Before You Travel
    • If you are eligible, get fully vaccinated for COVID-19. Wait 2 weeks after getting your second vaccine dose to travel—it takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination.
    • Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before you travel. Keep a copy of your test results with you during travel in case you are asked for them. Do NOT travel if you test positive.
    • Check travel restrictions before you go.
    • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when in public settings.
    • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who did not travel with you. It’s important to do this everywhere — both indoors and outdoors.
    • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol). 
    • Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.
    • Avoid contact with anyone who is sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • After You Travel
    • Get tested 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days after travel.
    • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
    • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
    • If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
    • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information 

A state webpage has launched dedicated to COVID-19 vaccine information for the general public. The Vaccinate Iowa page can be found at vaccinate.iowa.gov. The page is available in multiple languages and is a centralized place for COVID-19 vaccine information. 

COVID-19 vaccine information is also available on the COVID-19 in Iowa page at https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/pages/vaccineinformation

Beginning March 8, the 211 Call Center is expanding to offer additional assistance to older Iowans without access to technology. This expansion will include vaccine navigator services to help with scheduling an appointment for vaccine and transportation needs. 211 is partnering with Area Agencies on Aging to help older Iowans. Heritage Area Agency on Aging is the organization that serves Linn County. 

Second Doses of Vaccine 

Both COVID-19 vaccines in use currently (Pfizer and Moderna) are two-dose vaccines. Due to vaccine distribution methods and supply limitations, all individuals receiving a vaccine should plan to get their first and second dose at the same location. There is no guarantee a second dose will be available at a location other than where the first dose was administered. 

Phase 1B  

Linn County Tier 1, Group 3 populations continue to be offered vaccine. Vaccine will continue to be offered to all eligible populations, including Phase 1A and Phase 1B, Tier 1, Group 2 populations as they are identified and request vaccine. Those populations should complete the employer vaccine form to request vaccination.

Vaccine remains in short supply, and not everyone in Phase 1B will be able to get vaccine right away. It may take weeks to months for the Phase 1B populations to receive vaccine. 

Linn County continues to receive about 3,000 doses of vaccine per week. Linn County Public Health will continue to ensure an equal balance of vaccine is available in Linn County to persons 65 and older, prioritized frontline workers, and specific populations vulnerable to high risk of exposure or severity of illness. Vaccine is available within Linn County to persons 65 and older through the Retail Pharmacy Program. 

Persons 65 years and older

  • flyer has been created to share with persons 65 years of age and older to provide information on COVID-19 vaccine
  • For information on vaccine appointment options for persons 65 and older, visit: https://www.linncounty.org/1514/Adults-65 

Tiers 1-5

  • Due to the limited supply of vaccine, vaccine will be prioritized to identified groups within Tier 1.  
  • Eligible individuals in Tier 1 will be notified of how to make an appointment through their employer. Tier 1 agencies and organizations will be asked to prioritize vaccine within their organization. 
  • The Iowa Department of Public Health has released COVID-19 Vaccination Guidelines for Phase 1B, Tier 2.  These guidelines provide details on eligibility for the following groups in Tier 2: 
    • Group 1: Individuals with disabilities living in home settings that are dependent on attendant care staff, and their attendant care staff
    • Group 2: Frontline essential workers in the food, agricultural, distribution, and manufacturing sectors who work in or live in congregate settings that do not allow for social distancing. 
  • For more information on vaccine for identified populations for Tiers 1-5, visit: https://www.linncounty.org/1517/COVID-19-Vaccine-Phase-1B 

Vaccine Distribution Highlights

  • Current Phase: Phase 1B, Tier 1
  • Projected time to next phase: Unknown 
  • Populations included within Phase 1B: 
    • Persons 65 years and older
    • Prioritized frontline workers and specific populations vulnerable to high risk of exposure or severity of illness
  • Progress within Phase 1B
    • Beginning January 26, Linn County began offering vaccine to persons 65 years of age and older. There are 36,000 people 65 and older in Linn County. 
    • Beginning February 1, Tier 1 populations were eligible to be vaccinated. There are approximately 11,000 people in Tier 1, Groups 1-5. 
      • Beginning February 11, Tier 1, Group 2 populations began receiving vaccinations. 
      • Tier 1, Group 3 began the week of February 22
    • Vaccine will continue to be offered to Phase 1A and Phase 1B, Tier 1, Group 2 populations as they are identified and request vaccine. Those populations should complete the employer vaccine form to request vaccination. 
  • Groups to be offered vaccine next: 
    • Phase 1B, Tier 2
      • Individuals with disabilities living in home settings that are dependent on attendant care staff, and their attendant care staff, which may be a family member
      • Frontline essential workers in food, agricultural, distribution, and manufacturing sectors who work in or live in congregates settings that do not allow for social distancing 
    • The Iowa Infectious Disease Advisory Council has recommended priority populations for Phase 1C, which include individuals 65 years of age and older and individuals 64 years of age and younger with underlying medical conditions that are or may be an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. 
      • IDAC had recommended on January 11 for Phase 1B to include Iowans age 75 and older, and other Iowans who are vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19 or high-risk for illness as the result of a COVID-19 infection. 
      • Governor Reynolds announced on January 21 individuals 65 years of age and older would be eligible in Phase 1B. 
  • Projected time to next phase: Unknown
  • A report of COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Dashboard by county is posted at https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/ 

Businesses

Linn County Public Health (LCPH) is compiling information from employers to help link employers and their staff to agencies administering the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available. LCPH has developed an employer vaccine form for employers interested in offering COVID-19 vaccine to their employees. 

  • Employers who have employees in Phase 1B should complete the form now, if they have not done so already. Phase 1A populations that have not yet received vaccine can still complete the form. 
  • Those that have already completed the form do not need to do so again.
  • It is best to access the form in Chrome. 
  • We recommend filling out the comments section with exactly what you do, where you go, and what patient contact you have (if any). This helps LCPH place you accordingly for vaccine.
  • Complete the form here, or direct link is: https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/891d3217630c46cebd1b5db8bba47b8a?portalUrl=https://lcgis.linncounty.org/portal

Vaccine FAQs

For questions about COVID-19 vaccine in Linn County:

Please sign up to receive email notifications for COVID-19 Status Updates to keep up-to-date on vaccine rollout updates and other important information regarding COVID-19 response. For assistance with signing up for updates, view this video. In addition to the Linn County COVID-19 vaccine website LinnCounty.org/Vaccine, updates will also be shared on Facebook and Twitter. For questions on COVID-19 vaccine in Linn County, call 319-892-6097. Stay tuned to local news outlets for updated information. 

Linn County Case Count Data

  • Active cases: 1,373
  • Total cases to date: 19,361
  • Currently hospitalized: 16
  • Total deaths: 324
  • Total recovered: 17,664

Note: The State of Iowa has transitioned from reporting positive individuals to positive tests. Linn County will continue to report positive individuals. Therefore, numbers from the state and Linn County dashboard will not match. 

Additional data on COVID-19 cases is available on Linn County’s case count dashboard.  

Linn County Metrics

  • Test Positivity Rate*: 17.8% 
    • *Percent of positive tests to date since beginning of pandemic

Additional Linn County metrics are available on Linn County’s metrics dashboard.

For more COVID-19 information specific to Linn County, visit LinnCounty.org/COVID19.

Know Your Ws wash your hands, wear a face mask, wait six feet apart


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