Johnson County may see fewer COVID-19 mitigation efforts in businesses and county buildings after the CDC categorized the county as “low.”
Johnson County has entered a low-level community level for COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention metrics, allowing fewer county-wide virus-suppressing measures.
Johnson County Public Health Division Manager Sam Jarvis told the Johnson County Board of Supervisors on March 16 that the county will continue to promote COVID-19 vaccines, readily available tests and good ventilation in the future. All counties in Iowa except Appanoose and Davis counties are in low transmission.
“We’ve seen the removal of a lot of other physical partitions and barriers that were once put up in intersections and high-interaction points,” he said. “That kind of thing might be thought to be removed.”
The CDC categorizes a county that experiences a “low” COVID-19 community level if it has:
- Fewer than 200 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants within the last 7 days.
- Less than 10 percent of the beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients.
Jarvis added that in the last seven days, there have been less than 100 cases in the county. There were two COVID-19 cases in Johnson County on March 15, he said.
Johnson County has had an average of 11 COVID-19 cases since March 19, according to New York Times COVID-19 database.
The county, Iowa City, and Iowa City Community School District recently completed their face-to-face policies for staff and visitors to county buildings.
University of Iowa reported one COVID-19 case among staff and students since March 18th.
“Going into spring, summer and probably forever, we will continue to promote COVID-19 vaccines,” Jarvis said.
While COVID-19 cases are single-digit, Jarvis said the county plans to continue monitoring cases after the spring break.
“With that, in context, we know it’s spring break too, so we know there’s probably less desire to do that at the moment,” he said.
COVID-19 variant BA.2
Jarvis said the county has not seen BA.2, the latest COVID-19 variant that has spread in Northeastern and western United Statesin Iowa State Hygienic Lab test results to date.
“Based on what it sounds like, from what is being referred to as the BA.2 variant of omicron,” he said. “And so right now it’s something remarkable that it’s being described as just as contagious, if not more so. As we’ve seen through several variants and phases … what we see happening globally may end up in our backyard. . “