COVID Positivity Rate And Possible High Absenteeism Could Make Schools Eligible For Online Learning

Northwest Iowa — The high rates of tests coming back positive and potential high absenteeism in northwest Iowa schools could soon make some of them eligible to begin two weeks of online-only learning.

One of the metrics that the state has chosen to use to determine eligibility for online learning is — out of all the COVID tests that are ordered in a 14-day period, what percentage of THEM are coming back positive. Sometimes this gets confused with another metric — the percentage of the population that has had COVID.

In the four northwesternmost Iowa counties, the percentage of tests coming back positive remains quite high. In fact, Sioux County has the highest percentage in the state, at 28.7 percent of tests coming back positive. That’s a little more than one in four tests. Lyon County is second in the state at 23.4 percent. Osceola is seventh at 15.1 percent. O’Brien County is tied for fourteenth at 11.9 percent.

If the county a school is in reaches a 14-day average test positivity rate of 15 percent, and at least 10 percent of students are absent, the school can apply for a waiver to request state permission to conduct the majority of learning virtually.

Just for comparison sake — the percentage of the population who has had COVID is much lower. In Sioux County, 3.49 percent of the population has had COVID. O’Brien County is just over two percent at 2.02 percent. In Lyon County, it’s 1.88 percent. Osceola is very close at 1.87 percent of the population having had COVID.

ACTIVE cases versus population is even lower — much lower — than that. In Lyon County, it’s a half of a percent. In Sioux County, it’s 1.33 percent. In O’Brien County, nearly eight-tenths of a percent of the population actively has COVID. And in Osceola County, it’s between three and four-tenths of a percent.

As for hospitalizations, those statistics are a few days behind, but as of Tuesday, only five people in Sioux County were hospitalized with COVID, four in O’Brien County, and zero in either Lyon or Osceola counties.



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