DES MOINES, Iowa — The Polk County Health Department is continuing the challenge of tracking COVID-19 cases in Iowa’s largest county, and that task has become more difficult than ever in the past week.

According to statistics from the Iowa Department of Public Health, Polk County experienced a rolling 7-day average of more than 15,000 positive COVID tests each day since January 14, including a record high of 16,127 recorded on January 16.

In comparison, the highest 7-day average of positive COVID tests it recorded before the Omicron variant’s rise was 8,441 on November 18, 2020.

The amount of positive COVID-19 tests in Polk County through Jan. 18, 2021. (Source: Iowa Department of Public Health)

“We know exactly every day how many cases we are seeing in Polk County, and the numbers continue to horrify me because the numbers are still this high,” said Nola Aigner Davis of the Polk County Health Department.

Polk County’s COVID-19 positivity rate in the past week is 31%. Children under 18 have accounted for a quarter of the county’s positive tests in that timeframe.

The county is continuing to contact trace among the peak, mostly by working with school districts and hospital systems.

Aigner Davis said the data illustrates how serious of a threat COVID-19 remains in Iowa.

“This pandemic is not about you, it’s about more than you,” Aigner Davis said. “It’s about your loved ones, colleagues, family, and friends. You have to think about what you do and your impact on them.”