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

New COVID-19 data released by the Iowa Department of Public Health on Wednesday shows new cases in Hardin County are down from 48 new cases reported last week to 26 the week of Aug. 12-18. 

In total, since March of 2020, 2,021 Harding County residents have tested positive for the disease. Of that total, 44 people have died of COVID-19. No new deaths were reported in the county over the last week.

For weeks, the number of new cases across Iowa and the rest of the country has grown at a faster pace as the more contagious delta variant of the virus has spread. On July 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new recommendations that Americans in areas of high transmission of the virus – defined as 100 or more new cases per 100,000 population in a seven-day period – should wear a mask inside public places, regardless of vaccination status. Hardin County remains an area of of high transmission this week with 154 new cases of the disease per 100,000 population.

Testing for COVID-19 was down slightly up from Aug. 11-16 (data only being reported through Aug. 16), averaging 122 total tests per day, as opposed to the week before when the average was 121 total tests per day.

Hospitalizations have increased across the state since last week's update. According to the state coronavirus website, 396 Iowans were hospitalized for COVID-19 on Aug. 18, compared with 355 one week earlier. 

The number of Hardin County residents who are choosing to get vaccinated has increased, albeit marginally. On Aug. 11, the state reported that 8,149 Hardin County residents had received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. This week, that number was up to 8,261, which is about 48.9 percent of the county’s total population. That increase, week to week, in the number of people who have either started or completed their vaccination, was 112 people between Aug. 12 and 18. 

Hardin County Public Health Coordinator Rocky Reents reiterated that vaccinated people can still contract the disease.

"I took positive cases from Aug. 1 to Aug. 16, looked them up in Iowa's Immunization Registry Information System. I didn't find everyone in there, but out of the 57 I did find, 23 have been fully vaccinated which is about 40% of the total positive cases," she said via email. 

The new COVID-19 cases in Hardin County do not appear to be centered in one area. Every Friday, Hardin County Public Health publishes an update of local coronavirus data. It includes a list of infections divided out by ZIP code. Last Friday’s update showed that new cases are being identified across the county. At the time of the last report – which included data up to Aug. 13. The Iowa Falls ZIP code reported 14 new cases, Ackley had 11 new cases, Eldora and Hubbard each had 5, two cases were reported in both Alden and New Providence, Steamboat Rock and Union had one case each and no new cases were reported in Radcliffe or Gifford.

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