While still high, the rate at which Jones County continued to add cases of COVID-19 cases in Jones County continued to decrease over the past week.

The county, which had been first in the state for the last couple of weeks in the 14-day average of positive rate, dropped to third, as of Nov. 30. The rate dropped from 37.3 to 28.3%, third in the state and the number of confirmed positive cases increased 106 to 2,326. The previous week had seen 371 positive cases added.

With the decrease in cases, the Anamosa Community School District returned to the classroom Nov. 30 after being approved for two separate two-week waivers to take learning online due to the high case counts.

Jones County Public Health Director Jenna Lovaas said during her update at the Nov. 24 Jones County Board of Supervisors meeting that the information on the state website does not accurately reflect the county’s death totals. According to the Jones County Public Health update Nov. 25, the county has seen 23 COVID-19-related deaths. As of Nov. 30, the state’s COVID-19 dashboard showed only 13 deaths.

The fifth inmate death reported at the penitentiary, according to an Iowa Department of Corrections press release, was Frederick William Lewis. Lewis was pronounced dead, likely due to complications related to COVID-19 and other preexisting medical conditions at approximately 2:42 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Originally housed at the Anamosa State Penitentiary, he had been taken to the hospital several days earlier for more advanced care as his medical condition began to worsen. Lewis was 68 years old at the time of his death.

Lewis had been serving a life sentence for sexual abuse 1st degree and other crimes from Dubuque County. His sentence began on July 18, 1997.

As of the Nov. 28 update, there were 81 current positives among inmates at the Anamosa State Penitentiary with 742 no longer positives. Staff current positives are 26 with 117 no longer positive. Both those numbers were decreases from the previous week, but the penitentiary still has the most positives for staff among the state correctional system. Only Mount Pleasant’s 85 current positive among inmates is higher than Anamosa’s tally.

On the vaccine front, Lovaas said vaccines could be handed out to frontline employees as early as December. Partnerships between Walgreens and CVS to help get vaccinations for longer term care staff and residents and county facilities are already signed up for that process. The state will be taking care of vaccinations at the prison.

In Linn County, the positivity rate continued to drop from 20.5% the previous week to 16.9%. The active count in Springville’s zip code increased by just one with 12 cases added, making their total 144, but 11 cases added to recovered.

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