Louisa County COVID-19 Rate Now Worse Than New York State

In little more than a week, Louisa County has gone from a single confirmed case of COVID-19 to the worst-hit county in Iowa in per-capita cases. Another update from their county public health department today confirmed 73 new cases, nearly doubling their current numbers, taking them to 152 overall. Only a handful of counties in Iowa, all with far larger populations, have more cases.

Louisa County has just 11,387 residents, meaning that 1.3% of all people in the county has now tested positive for the virus. When you extend that out to a cases per 100,000 people calculation, it puts Louisa County ahead of even New York State, home to the United State’s largest outbreak, for infection rate. According to the latest data on the New York Times’ tracker, New York State has 994 positive cases per 100,000 people. Louisa County has an equivalent of 1,135 per 100,000.

Making matters worse, Louisa County does not have a hospital, one of a handful of counties in the state without one. According to the Burlington Hawk Eye in October, Louisa County also did not have a single resident practicing physician.

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The drastic spike in the Southeast Iowa county, home to towns like Columbus Junction and Wapello, began a little over a week ago when over two dozen employees at the local Tyson meat packing plant became sick and tested positive. In the days afterward, cases skyrocketed faster than almost any other county in the state. Louisa County already topped Iowa’s per-capita rating for counties before the new 73 cases. Those have yet to be reported in the statewide report released by IDPH.

The county health department implied in their latest post that new testing, which has been incredibly scarce and rationed in Iowa and across the country, provided to the county led to the jump in numbers.

Due to increased testing efforts in Louisa County, we currently have 73 new cases of COVID19. This puts our total number of positive cases to 152,” the health department reported. “Please keep in mind that the data released by IDPH is delayed to allow counties time to notify their local partners and begin the disease investigation. Our county’s data should be made available by IDPH on 4/14/20.”

If you are a resident of Louisa County, Starting Line would like to speak with you about what you’re seeing locally. Email us at IowaStartingLine@gmail.com.

 

by Pat Rynard
Posted 4/13/20

16 Comments on "Louisa County COVID-19 Rate Now Worse Than New York State"

  • I’d like to know what the state’s response has been. Seems to me this is worthy of sending the National Guard, crew of health care workers & a team of interpreters/translators yesterday. What about Health & Safety Inspectors? My hunch is that no information (COVID-19 symptoms, protections & safety precautions) was made available in the workers’ language was made available. Most of these plants’ workers do not speak English. In some respects this smacks of racism to me.
    I’ll be watching to monitor what’s going on in this county. We all do…we’re in this thing together!
    /

  • I applied at that plant once a long time ago, i assure you there are no shortage of signs and paperwork in Spanish. I did have to wait 15 minutes for them to find me an application written in English, however. Which smacks of racism to me.

  • This is interesting because an outbreak occurred at a meat packing plant in Greeley Colorado with a high percentage of workers testing positive and over 15 deaths. The plant was closed indefinitely today.

  • There are 152 cases and 1.3% of the small population. It is deceptive to extrapolate from that and make a comparison with New York City. The is a perfect example of not using statistics properly. What if there was one murder last year and then two this year. The headline would be “The Murder Rate is up 100 Percent” which would be alarming. A statistician knows how to present data for a fair assessment of a situation. A journalist may need to take a couple of statistics courses to learn how to present data fairly.

  • Greg Still is correct, not only was JBS facility (beef) closed indefinitely in Greeley, but it is located in Weld County, home to some of the worst Covid 19 in the state outside the large populations in Denver and Colorado Springs. A nursing home there has experienced the largest outbreak in a care facility in the state. Greeley has a large population of Hispanics and folks from foreign nations, majority of the employees of JBS.
    Additionally, packing plants across the midwest are experiencing similar outbreaks (Sioux Falls for example). Employees work in tight conditions throughout the plant, similar conditions to cruise ships, making the virus spread inevitable. I grew up in CJ and once worked at the plant back when it was Rath Packing. Work conditions have improved since then, but not all that much. CJ has become a community of thirds. 1/3 Hispanics, 1/3 Caucasian, and 1/3 Burmese. Everyone goes to the same convenience store, grocery store, and Dollar Store, so virus spread can occur rapidly.

  • So lets get this strait, you believe signs should be posted in anything but English? sorry I disagree. they don’t in their countries, I know I’ve been to a few of them! Next you would like to put our young women and men at danger who are serving bravely, NO learn to do for yourself. You had one valid point we are in this together, so help when you can, there is always something people can do to help. Criticizing the government and local officials is not helping, do I agree with everything they are doing, Definitely no but we put them there to do this job let them do it. You don’t like it Vote.

  • Iowa s outbreaks seem to be occuring in larger employer workplaces especially factories……… and nursing homes. Iowa should have shut down all business, period, if you couldnt work from home, tough…… except for grocery, gas, and pharmacies. This is just going to spread no matter what the governors famous or infamous secret calculations show. Nebraska has skyrocketed, Iowa has skyrocketed, Missiouri has skyrocketed. Minnesota is tightly controlled and their #s are holding low. Conservatively lead states from coast to coast are going to be dying fields. Its kind of ironic, their governing policies might be considered conservative by political standards, but by public health policy they are wildly out of control and crazed.

  • This is comparing a small county in Iowa to the whole state of New York. Come on now. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Compare it to at least New York CITY which has a positive rate of 1.3, which is the SAME rate as Louisa county but come on. Don’t post shitty free mongering articles

  • “There are 152 cases and 1.3% of the small population. It is deceptive to extrapolate from that and make a comparison with New York City.”

    A per-capita comparison normalizes out the population difference; it is not an “extrapolation” in any sense of the word. The whole point is that this small county has a higher rate of infection (expressed either as a percentage or per capita) than even densely-populated NYC. Percent/per capita comparisons are exactly correct for different sized cities, countries, states, etc.

    The article correctly notes the size differences and then compares on an apples-to-apples basis. This is good journalism that provides all the relevant info, not “bad statistics”.

  • I live just outside Columbus Jct . No one wears a mask , familys go in to the stores together . I wear a mask every wear and all I get are stares of fear . But at least they stay away from me

  • correction, Troy APPLIED to work there. We do not know for sure if he actually worked there. He probably walked out on principle, after experiencing racisim.

  • Like .maybe put those men and women on a ship, ignore the pleas of their commander for 4 days and leave them to die?

  • Just want to remind everyone that most of these men and women working at meat processing plants (specially in IA) never came to their employment offices to apply for work….these plants came to their countries and offered them work!…and these company’s recruit workers in foreign countries backed by a government program which allows them to work here legally! This type of recruiting program’s are necessary just because it’s hard repeatative work..I’ll rephrase all this in short words so people with thoughts like crickets understand it! Most of the men and women that you suggest should be sent on a ship and let die! Were brough here by their employers and government to do the work that needs to be done and for some reason it can’t be done without them! You have the right to think what ever and however but think better before sharing some of your thoughts with others!

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