NEWTON, IOWA — Jasper County has been seeing a dramatic increase in COVID cases due to the Delta Variant. In July, Jasper County had 93 cases, there were 307 in August, and the first week of September so far has seen 116 cases. The past 14 days Jasper County had 206 COVID cases including 46 kids, and 28 people over age 60.
On September 7th, Newton Schools had a 9.63 student absence rate, due to illness. Three of the schools were over 10% absent due to illness of students.
“Right now but we have five school districts in our county were in Jasper County and we work with all five school districts”, said Becky Pryor, the Jasper County Director of Public Health, “We work with the superintendents, school nurses but beyond that we’re also working with their healthcare providers like Newton clinic and Mercy One Newton hospital the long-term care facilities or Emergency Management, of Jasper County.”
The new wave of COVID-19 has a small, silver lining.
“We definitely know more about the Covid virus this time because in the beginning stages we were it was so new and it while things are changing now we know about Covid,” said Pryar. “I feel like we’re more calm presence than we were before and everyone knows the role and how this works a little bit better so we are handling it with more patience this time.”
Around town, some approach this in different ways.
“No, I’m not worried, a retired Newton dentist, “I’m just hoping that mindset will be such that will get more people vaccinated … I’m a pro vaccine, I’m a scientist, I’m a retired dentist I’ve been here for 50 years and so I believe in vaccines.”
“I have not been vaccinated, but I am someone who had COVID,” said Jon Dunwell, of Newton. “I’ve gone in gotten tested a couple of times for my anti-bodies, I’ve discussed it with my doctor, I’m very very careful around people who are older or have compromising conditions.”
For people who may need a COVID test, there are home tests which could be picked up at the Jasper County Public Health Office. Also the Newton Clinic also has test kits available.