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Cerro Gordo County public health director says north-central Iowans have to be wary of Delta variant of COVID

MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health director says they are ramping up their efforts to get teens vaccinated for COVID-19 while watching the spread of the Delta variant of the virus.

Brian Hanft says work starts Wednesday on discussions with schools on getting students vaccinated.   “We’re reaching out to the schools, we start tomorrow working with the schools, trying to get kids 12-17, and anyone else who wants to come in, through the schools. So we’re working with our four primary schools.”

Hanft says vaccinations are also continuing at the CG Public Health office on Mason City’s west side.   “Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00-to-2:00. People can go online and sign up just like they did before and come in, it’s pretty seamless. We’re running that actually with quite a few volunteers that we used at the mass clinic, so we’re still getting doctors and nurses coming in and helping us out. They like to be involved, so why not use them.”

Hanft says the Delta variant continues its spread across the state, including in our area, and the variant is taking its toll on those who are not vaccinated.  “Franklin County is at 10% positivity rate, Cerro Gordo County right now is at around 4%. We’ve got to keep an eye on that. The Delta variant is way more contagious, it’s easier to spread. We’re seeing in hospital situations that people who are ending up in the hospital are those people who are not vaccinated almost exclusively. So if there’s any reason to get vaccinated, it’s really taking a look at what’s going on out there related to those people who are positive for COVID and ending up in the hospital. People who are vaccinated may still become positive, but they are not ending up in the hospital, so it’s much less severe symptoms.”

Seven-day positivity rates in the rest of the listening area vary as high as 9% in Hancock County, 6% in Wright, 3% in Mitchell and Winnebago, 1% in Floyd and Butler, and zero in Kossuth and Worth.

Since the start of the pandemic, 419 of the state’s 6149 deaths have been in north-central Iowa, with 97 of those in Cerro Gordo County.

Hanft made his comments at today’s meeting of the County Board of Supervisors


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