News Flash

COVID-19 Status Update

Posted on: March 5, 2021

Linn County COVID-19 Status Update

LINN COUNTY COVID-19 STATUS UPDATE

March 5, 2021


Linn County Public Health held a virtual media briefing on March 5 to provide an update on Linn County COVID-19 vaccination efforts due to the announcement of expanded eligibility criteria by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). Watch the video. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Information 

IDPH amended the Phase 1B Vaccine Shortage Order effective March 8 to expand Phase 1B to include individuals 64 years of age and younger that are or might be at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. A list underlying conditions are listed on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website

Linn County still has thousands of people in Phase 1B that have not yet been able to receive vaccine. Due to the eligibility change for Phase 1B occurring after vaccine allocations for next week were finalized, vaccine allocated by the county to local vaccine providers for next week will remain dedicated to the 65 and older groups and the Phase 1B tier populations. Beginning the week of March 15, vaccine allocated by the county to local vaccine providers will include the expanded eligibility criteria. Weekly vaccine allocations to Linn County through Linn County Public Health are expected to remain stable through the end of March at approximately 3,500 doses per week. Linn County does not expect to receive any additional Johnson and Johnson vaccine until late March. 

Vaccine allocated to pharmacies participating in the Retail Pharmacy Program may offer vaccine to all eligible individuals beginning March 8. These appointments will be on a first come, first serve basis to all eligible populations. Retail Pharmacy programs receive vaccine from the federal government. In Linn County, select Hy-Vee locations and Clark’s Pharmacy are participating pharmacies. Hy-Vee also receives state allocated vaccine. Vaccine administered by these providers are directed by state and federal authorities, and not at the county level.

IDPH has updated the Projected Vaccination Timeline, which is available at https://vaccinate.iowa.gov/.  

The White House announced this week that by the end of May, there will be enough vaccine for anyone over the age of 16 who chooses to receive one. This is great news that vaccine production is anticipated to fully met the demand for vaccine by May. However, once the vaccine is produced, the distribution and actually getting the vaccine into arms will take time due to the sheer volume of people who will need to be vaccinated. 

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to be a fluid situation, with frequent changes that require vaccine providers to pivot and adjust. We ask for your patience, as the demand for vaccine continues to exceed supply. 

Phase 1B

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 Public Health continues to receive about 3,500 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

  • A 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 

Persons age 16 to 64

Tiers 1-5

  • Tier 1
    • Linn County is completing vaccination of Tier 1 populations this week. 
    • Retail pharmacy program partners will offer vaccine to PreK-12 school staff and child care workers at the request of the CDC.
  • Tier 2
    • IDPH 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. On March 1, IDPH announced the newly approved Johnson and Johnson vaccine would be reserved for this population at this time
  • 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
  • Projected time to next phase: Unknown 
  • Priority groups included within Phase 1B: 
    • Individuals 65 and older and individuals 64 and younger with underlying conditions
    • 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. Approximately 60% of the 65 and older population in Linn County has received at least one dose of vaccine. 
    • Beginning February 1, Tier 1 populations were eligible to be vaccinated. There are approximately 11,000 people in Tier 1. 
    • Tier 2 will begin the week of March 8. 
  • 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 
  • Projected time to next phase: Unknown
  • A report of COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Dashboard by county is posted at https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/ 

Vaccine FAQs

For questions about COVID-19 vaccine in Linn County:

  • Visit www.linncounty.org/1494/COVID-19-Vaccine 
  • Call 319-892-6097
  • Beginning March 8, Iowans may call 211 for help from a vaccine navigator with scheduling an appointment for vaccine and transportation needs. Additionally, older Iowans may call their local Area Agency on Aging at 1-866-468-7887.

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. 

COVID-19 Prevention 

Linn County Public Health asks everyone to continue to follow prevention measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing hands, staying home if you feel sick, getting tested, and getting a vaccine when you are eligible. It remains important to follow these recommendations until vaccine is readily available for everyone that wants it. 

Linn County Case Count Data 

  • Active cases: 1,180
  • Total cases to date: 19,498
  • Currently hospitalized: 15
  • Total deaths: 328
  • Total recovered: 17,990

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*: 17.7% 
    • *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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