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North-central Iowa’s average positivity rates rising, a concern for local health officials.

MASON CITY — North-central Iowa’s seven-day and 14-day average positive test rates are slightly higher than the statewide averages.

In the ten-county listening area, the 14-day positivity rate is at 4.3%, higher than the state average of 3.9%. The seven-day average locally is 4.4%, higher than the state average of 3.7%. Almost two-thirds of the positive tests in the last seven days in north-central Iowa are from people under the age of 50.

Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health director Brian Hanft says the rise in the averages are concerning him, and he points to what’s happening in another state as an example of what can happen if those rates continue to climb. “It’s not two or three percent like we saw two weeks ago. At least me personally, I’m paying close attention to what’s happening in Michigan. We’re seeing huge numbers. That’s a state that right now is overwhelmed with increasing numbers of cases. In some situations they are seeing kids or even babies as young as two months old on a ventilator.”

Hanft encourages people to get vaccinated for coronavirus if they haven’t done so already.  “When we are stressing the importance of the vaccine, it really is for everyone’s health, and we don’t want to see the numbers increase to 26, 28, 30 percent and hospitalization numbers that nearly overwhelm our hospital or actually do. We are watching what’s happening in India. We are watching what’s happening in Brazil. There are variants out there that are mutating on top of mutations, some with dual mutations, and those are really concerning the scientific community.”

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