Health department: Delta variant cases on the rise in Linn County

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

Missy Lancaster, administrator with the Linn County Health Department told commissioners that COVID-19 cases are again on the rise. (Stock photo)

PLEASANTON – A resurgence of COVID-19 in Linn County has kept the staff of the Linn County Health Department extremely busy, the health department Administrator Missy Lancaster reported on Monday, Dec. 6.

Lancaster told commissioners at their weekly meeting that the department was averaging 10 positive test results daily over the last week. She said the workers there also gave 76 booster vaccinations last Wednesday, Dec. 1.

Commission Chair Rick James asked if the department had seen any positive tests for influenza. She said that one case of flu was detected last week in a person who thought he or she might have COVID-19.

Commissioner Jim Johnson asked why persons who had been vaccinated were getting COVID-19, and she told commissioners it was difficult to give definite answers with COVID-19.

In a separate interview later on Monday, Lancaster said that while current COVID vaccines are designed to greatly reduce the symptoms of the disease, they do not necessarily prevent people from getting infected. However, she said that people who were unvaccinated had much more severe cases of those who had received the vaccine.

At the commission meeting, she pointed to an example last week when four people came in the same car to get tested for COVID-19. All had been vaccinated, and three tested positive and one tested negative.

“None of them were sick,” Lancaster said.

“Why did they come to get tested?” James asked.

“Because they were exposed,” she replied, adding that the nature of COVID-19 makes it difficult to give definite answers.

She did say, however, the person with the negative test planned to be back this week for another test.

So far, all of the new cases are the delta variant, which caused a surge of new cases in late August through September as school restarted.

Lancaster said that, so far, none of the cases have been the omicron variant, which has this week been found in several states, including Missouri, Colorado and Nebraska.

In the interview, Lancaster declined to speculate on the cause of the resurgence of the virus over the past two weeks.

There has been speculation that low numbers of infections in the latter part of October and November might have made people complacent about getting out more without taking precautions. Family gatherings indoors over the Thanksgiving Day weekend also had some local school officials concerned as well.

Local school districts have also seen a resurgence in COVID-19 infections. On Friday, Prairie View USD 362 reported that while there were fewer than five students who had tested positive for COVID and were out of school, 25 students were under modified quarantine that required them to wear masks in the classroom.

And Jayhawk USD 346 last week reported a resurgence as well following the Thanksgiving holiday.

The health department’s weekly COVID-19 report is due to be published on Wednesday, and the Journal will run a story on the results.

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