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Public Health Continues Vaccinations; Taps IDPH for Contact Tracing

February 9, 2021

February 9, 2021

For Immediate Release

Atlantic, IA — According to the latest data available at coronavirus.iowa.gov, at least 1,504 residents of Cass County have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so far. Of those, at least 519 have received both doses.

“As a county, we’re making progress with more than 1,500 residents having at least one dose so far. That’s great news, but it’s still disappointing that everyone who is eligible to receive a vaccine can’t readily get it. We have almost 3,000 eligible people in Phase 1 B waiting, and not nearly enough vaccine yet for everyone,” said Cass County Public Health Director Beth Olsen.

“This is frustrating for the public – it’s frustrating for us, too. If I had 3,000 vaccines today – I am sure that I could have them used up within the week. Unfortunately, we are only getting a small amount at a time. The good news is that we found out on Friday that we should expect to receive up to 300 doses each week for the duration of February,” said Olsen.

Many residents have signed up online or called in to be added to the 1B list, and many may be wondering why they have yet to receive a call for an appointment.

“We’re doing our best to vaccinate all of the eligible populations, and we’re relying on guidance from the state about how to allocate the doses that we have. We ask for everyone to be patient as we move through this process together. Please know if you have signed up already there is nothing more you need to do, and we will call and set up an appointment when we have sufficient vaccine available,” said Olsen.

If you are eligible for Phase 1A or Tier 1 of Phase 1B, and you have not yet signed up, take the survey at casshealth.org/covidvaccine or call (712) 243-3250 and press 7.

Due to the staffing demands of the vaccination effort, Cass County Public Health turned over contact tracing to the Iowa Department of Public Health on February 3, 2021.

“This was not a decision that we took lightly. There are four of us who have been conducting contact tracing seven days a week for nearly 10 months now. With our vaccine effort just starting to really ramp up, we have to prioritize our local staff resources to administer the vaccines,” said Olsen.

IDPH conducts contact tracing for more than two-thirds of Iowa’s counties. The state’s contact tracing efforts operate differently than when it was under local control; notably, the state will not contact schools or employers about positive cases.

“This puts some of the responsibility back to our residents, local schools, and employers in terms of managing exposures, quarantines, and return dates. Again, we each have a role to play in minimizing the spread of this disease, and we thank everyone for being cooperative and doing what’s needed to keep our community healthy,” said Olsen.

Until vaccine is widely available to all, it is crucial that Iowans continue to practice the mitigation measures that can slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

  • Wearing a mask or face covering
  • Practice social distancing with those outside your household
  • Clean your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Stay home if you feel sick

More information about coronavirus in Iowa can be found at coronavirus.iowa.gov.

 

Test Iowa information can be found at testiowa.com or casshealth.org/testiowa.
Visitor Information can be found at casshealth.org/about/visiting/
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