Iowa’s most populous county and host of this month’s Iowa State Fair now has a high level of coronavirus transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Polk County officials are urging all residents to resume wearing masks in public indoor spaces and to get vaccinated. Polk County Board of Supervisors Chair Angela Connolly says the county’s vaccination rate is still too low to prevent the spread of variants.
“As we start to see more large gatherings such as concerts, the state fair, back to school — this is really a perfect storm,” Connolly says.
According to the CDC, 75 of Iowa’s 99 counties are experiencing a high or substantial spread of the cornavirus. Walmart and Target are among the retailers requiring employees to wear masks in these areas and encouraging customers to do so as well. Aneesa Afroze, an infectious disease doctor at MercyOne Des Moines, says in the last four months, her hospital has treated more than 200 Covid patients “and 95% of them were not vaccinated and 4% succumbed to this, so it is real and in order to prevent hospitalizations, in order to prevent deaths, vaccination is very important. Prevention is very important.”
About 61.5% of Iowa adults are fully vaccinated according to data on the state’s website. A new state law prohibits local governments and schools from enacting mask mandates.