By Nick Pedley
News Editor 

The bad kind of No. 1

O'Brien County earns highest COVID-19 positivity rate in state


November 5, 2020


O'Brien County Public Health issued a plea to local residents to adhere to CDC guidelines and slow the spread of coronavirus.

O'Brien County was the winner of a dubious title last week.

According to state public health data, the county on Friday had the highest two-week COVID-19 positivity rate in the Hawkeye State with 23.4 percent. The rate is derived from the number of coronavirus-positive tests in a county over a 14-day time period.

O'Brien County Public Health issued a plea to local residents to adhere to CDC guidelines and slow the spread.

"There is significant community spread of COVID-19 occurring in O'Brien County. We need your help in reducing the transmission of COVID-19," the agency wrote in a statement. "The increase in COVID-19 cases is impacting our local healthcare facilities and agencies."

Public health officials urged residents to start wearing face coverings in public when a six-foot distance cannot be achieved between other people.

"The O'Brien County Healthcare Coalition needs everyone to step up and help slow the spread of COVID-19," stated the agency.

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations have been surging across the state over the past month. As of Tuesday evening, 730 Iowans were in the hospital battling infections. Four patients were from O'Brien County, while six hailed from Clay County, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).

O'Brien County's had the fifth-highest positivity rate in Iowa on Tuesday; however, it had increased from 23.4 percent on Friday to 24.8 percent. Clay County ranked No. 84 with an 11.3 percent positivity rate.

O'Brien County was up one coronavirus-related death from last week to bring its total to 15. Clay County was unchanged at four.

Overall, there have been 837 COVID-19 infections in O'Brien County since March. There have been 142 new infections in the county since last week, according to IDPH. Clay County has had 608 as of Tuesday, up 66 from the previous week. There have been 477 recoveries in O'Brien County and 402 in Clay County.

Statewide, there have been 134,236 COVID-19 infections since March, 95,519 recoveries and 1,780 deaths.

Public health officials continue to urge Iowans to wear face coverings, practice social distancing and wash their hands frequently.


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