High COVID-19 numbers in small Iowa towns expected to increase after the holidays

Iowa News

TAMA COUNTY, Iowa (WHO) — A recent White House Coronavirus Task Force report said 90% of Iowa counties are experiencing high or moderate levels of virus transmission. One of the counties in the “red zone” is Tama County.

“We see our numbers have increased a lot since the summer,” Tama County Public Health and Home Care Director Shannon Zoffka said. She said at the beginning of the summer, the county was getting around 20 new cases a week.

“Generally, we’re hitting around 50 new cases a week for our county and we have a population of about 17,000 total in our county,” Zoffka said.

Zoffka doesn’t think the recent spike in cases is because of school starting again.

“I don’t think schools are the issue or the superspreader or anything like that. I think it’s choices people make where they’re going, what they’re doing, not masking, not minding the social distancing, and that affects our numbers,” Zoffka said.

A high school junior, Evan Glockl, said the only time he has seen large groups of people gather is during school sporting events.

“Not unless they’re in sports they gather. In there it’s more smaller crowds. But if you’re in because the sports stuff is all still going on. And obviously it’s all social distanced and all the precautions are taken, but usually it’s only like a group of three to five people if it’s just a friend group,” Glockl said.

But group gatherings might increase since Halloween and Thanksgiving are right around the corner.

“I don’t think we’re going to have our normal big Thanksgiving like we generally do with 30 to 50 family members. We’ll probably have a smaller group,” Toledo resident Jason Arp said.

“I think for Thanksgiving, it’s just going to be like the same thing as every year but with the precautions taken,” Glockl said.

Zoffka said those precautions include wearing a mask, even at home.

“Even if you have family in your home, encourage masks in the home. I don’t know if people will take that seriously because masking seems to be such a hot topic issue that I honestly don’t think they will,” Zoffka said.

“Not that I’m a big opponent of them, but I don’t wear it any more than I have to because I like the fresh air,” Arp said.


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