Polk County Health officials warn that next peak of COVID-19 is here now

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DES MOINES, IOWA — The Polk County Health Department is advising that area hospitals are becoming very busy treating more cases of COVID-19. In July there were an average of 19 cases per day. Today, Polk County hospitals have 109 patients being treated for COVID.

“Our hospitals are full.  Our healthcare workers are tired. Parents and guardians are scared to send their children to schools,” said Helen Eddy, Director of Polk County Health Department. “We implore everyone to step up, once again, and do the right thing for the people you love and care about, for our community and for the 82,000 kids in Polk County who cannot be vaccinated.”

According to the Polk County Health Department, vaccine for those under twelve-years-old is a few months out.

“Still working on it for what we’ve heard we have heard that under 12 or possibly getting vaccinated midwinter that’s the last we’ve heard,” said Nola Aigner Davis, of the Polk County Health Department. “We consider ourselves in the fourth wave of COVID-19 pandemic so what we’re seeing is an increase, a surge in cases of hospitalizations and deaths and this is something that we never hope to be in again.”

“Our months of incredibly hard work are quickly being undone,” said Joshua Akers, Polk County Medical Examiner. “The first full week of August we saw seven COVID-19 related deaths and the numbers are continuing to rise. What is also concerning is that we are beginning to see the average age of decedents getting younger.”

Of the 109 COVID patients in the county, four are under 18. The Health Department said while that may not seem high, that’s the most they’ve had under 18 since the pandemic started.

“People need to get vaccinated, as the only way that we can prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Aigner Davis. “That first smart decision is getting vaccinated and then wearing a mask I think it’s critically important that we have to look at this pandemic this is not something that you just affects myself, there are people in our life every day that we love and we care about so if people cannot be vaccinated.”

The Health Department recommends getting tested if you have COVID symptoms. But they caution not to come to the Emergency Room for a test, instead contact your medical provider. Also the Polk County Health Department has some kits which can be picked up at their office, people can test themselves. 

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