This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

The number of active cases of COVID-19 in Hardin County climbed again over the last week with the diagnosis of 58 new cases. It’s the highest number of new cases in a week in nine months.

The Iowa Department of Public Health updates COVID-19 data for cases, testing and vaccination rates every Wednesday. This week’s update reported that the total number of COVID-19 cases since March of last year rose from 2,125 on Aug. 31, to 2,183 on Sept. 7, an increase of 58 cases. The state also reported one additional Hardin County death on Wednesday. It’s the third consecutive week that the state has reported the death of a Hardin County resident from COVID-19.

Of the 2,183 total Hardin County COVID-19 cases, the state reports there have been 1,947 recoveries and 47 deaths. That leaves 189 known active cases of the disease in the county. The number of active cases has steadily increased in recent weeks with totals over the last six week as follows:

  • Aug. 4: 55 cases
  • Aug. 11: 100 cases
  • Aug. 18: 112 cases
  • Aug. 25: 151 cases
  • Sept. 1: 170 cases
  • Sept. 8: 189 cases
Iowa COVID Transmission Map

Every one of Iowa's 99 counties is identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an area of high transmission of COVID-19. The CDC recommends that people in areas of high transmission wear masks when they're inside public places. 

Hardin County’s virus activity over the last week qualifies it as an area of high transmission according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Counties that have 100 or more cases per 100,000 population, or that have a positivity rate of more than 10 percent are identified as having a high rate of transmission. People in areas of high transmission are advised to wear masks when they’re inside public places, regardless of vaccination status. Hardin County’s case count for the last week puts it at 344 cases per 100,000 population.

The state also updated vaccination numbers on Wednesday. According to the data, 8,024 Hardin County residents – 47.6 percent of the total population – are fully inoculated against COVID-19. That’s an increase of 99 people from last week.

COVID Vaccinations Over 12

A redesigned page on the Iowa coronavirus website shows the vaccination rate of each county's population age 12 and older, which are the only ages eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.

A redesigned page on the state’s coronavirus website displays vaccination rates by county. It can be sorted by age and by whether the data are people who’ve had one dose of vaccine or are fully vaccinated. According to the map, of the Hardin County population that can receive a COVID-19 vaccine – those who are age 12 and older – 54.4 percent are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 in the schools

COVID-19 Ages

A graph on the Iowa coronavirus website shows the breakdown of the ages of the Hardin County residents who tested positive for COVID-19 over the week before Sept. 8, 2021.

A graph on the Iowa Department of Public Health’s coronavirus website reports that of the new Hardin County cases in the previous week, 24 percent were in children age 0-17. Beyond that, it’s impossible to know how active the virus has been in area schools, which returned to the classrooms on Aug. 23.

Last year, school districts in Hardin County issued weekly reports on the number of people who’d tested positive for COVID-19. This year, the districts are not making that information available.

Iowa Falls and Alden Superintendent Tony Neumann said his districts are still tracking COVID-19 cases as they’re reported by families, but the contact tracing of last year – identifying and informing people who’d been in close contact with a COVID-positive student or staff member – is a thing of the past.

“We not allowed to contact trace,” Neumann said, citing rules issued by the state.

This year, families in the Iowa Falls and Alden districts whose student tests positive for COVID-19 work with school nurses to plan a date of return to the classroom. Families of other students are still notified when there's a positive case, but the notification is much wider. When there's a COVID-19 case at the elementary school level, a letter goes out to all of the families of children in that student’s grade notifying them of the test result. When a case is reported at the middle or high school, the notification goes out to families of every student in the school.

While Neumann hasn’t released the number of COVID-19 cases in the schools, he said there's been more during the start of this school year than there were at the end of the last school year.

“We’re definitely seeing a more steady stream than we’ve seen,” he said on Wednesday. “This year we have a little bit of a surge going on.”

The district is required to notify the state if 10 percent of the student body of a building is out due to illness, but that’s not new – it’s a rule every year, especially when flu cases start to show up. Neumann said the Iowa Falls and Alden school districts haven't reached 10 percent yet this school year. He said Tuesday’s absent-due-to-illness numbers ranged from 3 percent at one building, to almost 7 percent at another.

(14) comments

Sarah Hensley

Katie, I have contacted Test Iowa to verify if the PCR test currently in use in our area is subject to the CDC announcement I referenced in my initial comment. They were unable to answer my question and said they’d call me back. I will be sure to update this conversation if I hear back from them. Regardless, I firmly believe that all PCR tests currently used to test for COVID are only in use by EUA from the FDA and will all be replaced after December 31. I encourage all readers to look into this.

The link I posted regarding Ivermectin shows just how much evidence there is regarding its effectiveness against COVID-19, and I encourage all readers to question why it is not an approved treatment. Perhaps it is because if it is an approved treatment, there is no need for a vaccine that only comes with an EUA, and the emergency use requires that other treatments aren’t available. As a side note, the vaccine has also not been proven to work, and is looking less reliable all the time. I personally will not allow my body to be injected with experimental gene therapy for such little benefit. Speaking of which, Dr. Haverkamp, does your clinic have any FDA approved vaccines available? I don’t think so. Even if they are "interchangeable" for use, we know that the FDA approved only Comirnaty, which is unavailable in our country. All Pfizer doses that you offer are still only under EUA. Ivermectin is FDA approved, by the way, and doctors can prescribe it for off-label use if they want to do that for suffering patients. Thankfully, at least one reputable institution, the AAPS (Association of American Physicians and Surgeons) is questioning the resistance to Ivermectin.

I CAN see what you can see, Dr. Haverkamp, and so can other people. Keep that in mind as we go forward and more people start to wonder why you are sticking with our federal government’s covid narrative. I am also very concerned also about misinformation.

Sarah Hensley

I just wanted to clarify that Test Iowa was able to tell me that they use a PCR/NAAT test, but said they'd get back to me on whether or not that is discontinued as of Dec. 31.

Also, according to this list I'm linking you to, the PCR tests are all called rRT-PCR tests and that is exactly what the CDC Lab Alert said would need to be replaced after Dec. 31, with **no specification to only a certain version (or brand)** expiring.

It looks to me like all current PCR tests for COVID are being pulled back.

Sarah Hensley

Update on PCR tests: Wade Aldous, the Associate Director of the State Hygienic Lab, returned my call and I was able to speak with him for about 40 minutes this morning. I must admit I was wrong and that not all PCR tests are being discontinued, and that the test they are using will not be discontinued. *However* after presenting concerns regarding the science behind the PCR tests (even the ones that will not be discontinued), and a lot of discussion, he would not assert that my concerns were invalid. The concern is that the SARS-coV-2 virus has not been isolated and purified, so there is only an assumption that the PCR tests are calibrated to RNA of the correct virus. I believe the director will be looking into this after our conversation. He was very firm about the PCR test at the beginning of the conversation, but by the end he seemed to understand my reasoning for questioning whether or not the tests are based on a false assumption. The test manufacturers are using science provided to them by the government, assuming it is correct before developing their tests around it. If the integrity of the government’s science is in question (and it is!), then it would be negligent not to consider the possibility that these tests are faulty due to errors (or worse). It doesn't matter how sensitive the tests are or how meticulous the lab is if the tests were not calibrated to the correct virus. I came away from the conversation encouraged. Here is the link I shared with him:

and at the bottom of that page you will find a link to this article:


To my knowledge (and this is what I asked the Associate Director to look into) the very basic problem of the virus never having been isolated and purified has not been remedied. Therefore I maintain my viewpoint that the PCR tests are misleading- but I am no longer under the impression that *all* faulty PCR tests are being discontinued, but now I understand that only *some* of them are.

Katie and Doug Haverkamp

COVID is not a political party

COVID is not a religion

COVID is a virus, and it cares about none of us. There are no rewards or punishments in nature, only consequences.

I will continue to follow the best practices sent forth by the scientific method of reputable sources.

Approximately 90 % of our hospital ICU's COVID cases are unvaccinated individuals, overwhelmingly driving this current surge. I can't see that you can argue that the vaccine doesn't work. Is it 100%? No. It is approximately 90 % effective, so you will still see breakthrough cases and deaths even in the vaccinated group.

I do not know what is going to happen with COVID. I do not know what will happen with flu. No one does.

I will not continue to engage in this thread as I do not find your sources credible.

Sarah Hensley

If you don’t trust the facts and sources I’ve shared, then I don’t know what to tell you. Most everyone else will. None of them are even questionable. Things you’ve said are definitely questionable, even in your most recent comment. Please don’t accuse me of being misleading because I’m trying to lead people to the truth that is being withheld from them.

Ruth kloetzer

Sarah, please explain: “ As a side note, the vaccine has also not been proven to work, and is looking less reliable all the time.”.

Sarah Hensley

Sure, we originally were told the vaccine would protect against infection/transmission, but now we know that kind of protection doesn’t exist. There is the possibility of needed boosters, which is still being discussed. Side effect warnings are being added. VAERS numbers through the roof. The FDA announcing they approved a vaccine only for us to realize it’s not yet available (deception).

As a contrast, when taken as prescribed by a doctor, ivermectin is very safe, FDA approved, and looks incredibly promising for covid-19, which is why people who read the science want to be able to take it if they need it.

Ruth kloetzer

Like other vaccines given for various viruses, the COVID vaccines aren't 100% effective. That doesn't mean they aren't protective, though. Recently, the most severe cases of COVID are being seen in unvaccinated people. Vaccinated people with breakthrough infections tend to fare better with their illness than those that are not vaccinated. As to boosters, many vaccines require boosters.

The patient is the consumer, if he/she isn't satisfied with a doctor then he/she should find another. I have yet to hear of a doctor that is not supportive of a patient's choice to seek a second opinion. If a treatment one seeks is indeed safe, it shouldn't be a problem finding a medical provider to help her/him . Be informed and shop around. That's the great thing about our country, we have choices and are free to make them.

Katie and Doug Haverkamp

To clarify, there are many different brands of PCR and antigen tests, and the one you reference is only one brand. Not all PCR tests are being pulled back by the CDC.

And ivermectin is not an approved drug for the treatment of COVID 19. It is not backed by the National Institutes of Health, the Center for Disease Control, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the list goes on of reputable institutions. It has not been approved because it has NOT BEEN PROVEN TO WORK. PERIOD. There are ongoing studies, yes, and it may prove in the future to be mildly effective, but it definitely is not a cure-all.

Again, the best treatment is prevention, and that is through vaccination. And when we are in a surge as we are now, we should try to limit our exposure by again using mitigation strategies as outlined by the CDC such as masking in schools / public.

I wish you could see what we see: that mitigation strategies as outlined do work when used consistently and properly, that vaccines are as safe as any other routine vaccine, and they have amazing effectiveness.

And to see the suffering that happens Every. Darn. Day. because people are infected and have been scared into not trusting the vaccine because of misinformation.

We can quibble all day long about testing numbers, unapproved treatments and test effectiveness, it doesn't change the the fact that we are a HOUSE ON FIRE right now and all anyone brings is the garden hose.

Katie and Doug Haverkamp

With all respect, Sarah, the information you posted is misleading.

The PCR test that you mention is only one of many COVID tests available, and is not being used locally, nor widely used. The PCR test in use is not full of "false positives" as you would like the public to believe.

COVID is real, the numbers are rising, and we have minimally effective treatments for COVID. The numbers are not "overreported" , and my medical opinion is that they are UNDERreported, as many do not seek testing for a myriad of reasons.

I encourage everyone that is able to get the COVID vaccine, as it the most effective way to prevent contracting COVID and prevent severe illness.

The Times really didn't have any flu numbers to report last year, as there was negligent flu numbers due to our effective mask wearing and social distancing. You can check the CDC for these numbers as well.

Sarah Hensley

What COVID test is used locally and widely? I am only aware of the PCR and antibody tests.

I never said or meant to imply that COVID is not real, but I do mean to imply that ALL of the COVID statistics need to be read within the context of a very misleading PCR test.

I think it's interesting that you believe the CDC's claim that masking and social distancing was enough to cause the flu to essentially disappear. I suppose you are fully expecting to see those numbers rising now, and this fall, since we are not masking or social distancing. I think all Times Citizen readers should watch influenza numbers closely, especially the difference before and after Dec. 31.

Julie Duhn

And it would be interesting to see Hardin County residents who really care about their children, their grandchildren, and their school staff members STAND UP and SPEAK OUT for the sake of those children and school employees. That would be interesting indeed.

"Silence is complicity. Do not be complicit. Do not be silent."

Sarah Hensley

Yes it would be amazing! For the sake of children and school employees, please spread the word that ivermectin is an amazing drug that can cure COVID-19, but that our media outlets are suppressing the knowledge. If you care, you’ll share.

Sarah Hensley

For context: The CDC says that after Dec. 31, labs will need to discontinue the use of the current PCR test and encourages the use of a test that will be able to differentiate between SARS-coV-2 and influenza.(

It would be interesting to see Times Citizen also publishing influenza statistics for the state/county, and comparing those numbers to previous years.

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