Des Moines County schools increase COVID-19 mitigations amid rising cases

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 6:05 PM CDT
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BURLINGTON, Iowa (KWQC) - COVID-19 cases in Des Moines County are quickly climbing. The county has a 16 percent positivity rate and 142 new cases in the last seven days according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

“We definitely are concerned that the numbers continue to increase and we encourage the public to go ahead and get the vaccination,” says Christa Poggemiller, Public Health Director for Des Moines County.

According to Poggemiller, Des Moines County has a vaccination rate of 53 percent in those 18 and older.

“That worries me because our children go home every day in our community and so far it hasn’t been reflective in our student population and I’m fearful it’s going to go that way,” says Burlington Superintendent Patrick Coen.

Coen says the district currently has 33 positive students and 77 with symptoms. 300 students in the Burlington and Mt. Pleasant area are already learning virtually.

“We have students virtual and that number continues to grow as more parents become concerned,” says Coen.

COVID case numbers are worrying district leaders and fear my students and staff will need to quarentine.

“If the staff begin to have a lot of cases that would close the school faster than students getting sick. We are also trying to keep dollars and jobs in southeast Iowa. Like for connections academy, all that money leaves Iowa,” Coen says.

As the delta COVID variant spreads, stress is increasing over another school year like 2020.

“To be honest I’m quite fearful things will get worse and we will have another year like we had last year and we will struggle to grow,” Coen says.

The Des Moines County Health Department will host a drive-thru vaccine clinic at Southeastern Community College on September 10 from noon to 6 p.m. No appointment is necessary.

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