Speaking at the Nov. 5 meeting of the Jones County Board of Supervisors meeting, Jones County Public Health Director Jenna Lovaas said high case counts in the county had continued, and there were outbreaks in four different types of “congregate living situations,” three in Anamosa and one in Monticello.
The county had seen 265 active cases in the previous seven days, as of the Nov. 5 update, and it took five months for the county to even reach the 200-case mark. As of Nov. 9, Jones County’s case count was up to 1,438, an increase of 828 over the previous week. Cases reported at the prison are included in the county’s case county, which accounts for more than 500 cases. The state’s coronavirus dashboard shows an outbreak at the Anamosa Care Center, with a total of 38 positive cases. Where there are outbreaks, Emergency Management Coordinator Brenda Leonard said is providing two weeks of personal protective equipment.
Jones County’s positivity rate, a 14-day average of those tested for the virus that are positive, sits at 42.7%, the highest percentage in the state. The next closest county is Wayne County in southern Iowa at 39.4%. The increase in the county’s positivity rate was more than a 25% increase. Linn County also saw an increase in positivity rate, up to 21.9% from 14.5%.
Due to the increase in cases, the county was re-implementing some of their previous restrictions. Access to all Jones County facilities were again restricted to appointment only services until further notice.
Those needing help with court appearances and other court related services can call 319 462-4341 and contact information for the various county departments can be found on the county’s website. The goal is to help as many customers with business over the phone or email. A secure drop box is located in the courthouse parking lot near the brick garage. It is emptied several times each day by authorized personnel and is under 24/7 video surveillance. Residents may use the drop box for documents, license plates and payments.
Based on health and safety concerns, the availability of county services may change. Recently, Jones County JETS announced they were closed through Nov. 23 and the Jones County Treasurer’s Office is currently closed through Nov. 13.
When coming to the courthouse, visitors will be screened and are encouraged to wear masks.
In new action, the Jones County Board of Supervisors approved signing on to the proclamation passed by the Jones County Board of Health recommending that all citizens wear a mask or face covering to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The motion had been tabled since Sept. 29.
Despite the county handing over COVID-19 investigations over to the state with cases starting Oct. 30, Lovaas said with the new platform, there is still some local control and that the county will try to do as many investigations as they can locally.