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Katz 'pessimistic' about August return of face-to-face learning
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Katz 'pessimistic' about August return of face-to-face learning

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Late last week, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said school districts in the state must conduct at least half of all instruction in person as schools throughout the state prepare to open.

Dr. Louis Katz described himself as “very pessimistic” about any return to face-to-face learning during Tuesday’s QC COVID-19 Coalition briefing.

An infectious disease specialist and the Scott County Health Department’s medical director, Katz said without “aggressive interventions” the number of cases in the county are likely to increase.

“We are not there yet, and I’m not sure when we will be,” Katz said. “If the trends continue, it will be hard to justify face-to-face education. I’m very pessimistic about opening schools in late August.”

Katz presented the estimated number of “linked cases” in Scott County — a count that combines confirmed cases and presumed cases because of exposure to a confirmed case. He pointed out that before Iowa opened all retail stores, restaurants and bars at the end of June there were roughly 589 linked cases. As of July 18 there are 1,524 linked cases.

Katz pointed out linked cases among those between the ages of 20 and 25 have “skyrocketed.” The median age of a confirmed positive case was right around 50 for the first three months of the pandemic. Today, the median age in Scott County is just under 30.

“This is what we know: there are between two-to-13 times the number of reported infections,” Katz said. “And we know we have to look beyond the numbers to the trends. I would say the trends are not good.”

Scott County reported a total of 1,322 confirmed cases Tuesday, an increase of 22 since Monday. The death toll remained at 11.

Scott County is not alone. As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 10 counties in Iowa reported 1,000 or more confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. Scott County ranked eighth on that list, checking in with 1,320.

Polk County (the Des Moines area) is first in the state with 8,521 confirmed cases, more than double the 3,484 cases confirmed in No. 2 Woodbury County (Sioux City).

The Test Iowa Initiative includes an assessment developed in coordination with the Iowa Department of Public Health aimed at helping inform Iowans of their current health status, whether or not they should get a COVID-19 test and instructions on how to get tested. The assessment asks about existing symptoms and occupational considerations.

According to Test Iowa, 35,498 assessments have been completed in Scott County. There have been 19,797 tests conducted in the county.

Overall, 921,608 assessments have been completed throughout Iowa. Under half of those assessed — 423,227 — have been tested. As of 2 p.m. Tuesday 39,424 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Iowa, while 382,357 received negative results. The death toll is Iowa is 800.

Rock Island County officials reported 14 new COVID-19 cases, putting its total at 1,373 confirmed cases. The death toll remained at 30.

Illinois officials reported 955 new cases Tuesday, putting the state count at 163,703 confirmed positive cases. The state’s death toll is 7,324.

The temporary state-run COVID-19 testing site at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island closed Sunday after administering roughly 5,000 tests between June 29 and July 19.

Rock Island County residents seeking COVID-19 tests should contact their medical provider. Community Health Care, UnityPoint Health-Trinity and Genesis all are doing testing. The closest drive-thru testing site is at Hammond-Henry Hospital in Geneseo. The closest state-run drive-thru testing sites are in Peoria and Rockford.

For more information, visit www.dph.illinois.gov/testing or the Rock Island County Health Department’s Facebook page.

The Scott County TestIowa site located at NorthPark Mall in Davenport is open. Iowa residents seeking a test at the site must first log onto www.TestIowa.gov, complete an assessment, and schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are not accepted.

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The Davenport Community School District is still preparing for some students in the classroom in August, though it intends to ask for a waiver that would allow for a fully virtual start to the school year because of concerns about COVID-19.

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