editorial logo

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again.

We will never truly know the number of Clinton County residents who have been infected with COVID-19 since the outbreak began in early March.

Sure, there is a map on the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website that says 317 cases have been reported in Clinton County since the outbreak began.

But if you want a true answer, the only way to get it is through complete and thorough testing. We lost that opportunity.

Why?

Because since the beginning, while there were those who got sick and were able to be tested, there were others who were sick but weren’t sick enough to be tested. Or maybe they were sick enough, but testing wasn’t available when they needed it.

Then there were those who were around someone who was sick and got tested, but still others in the same situation who couldn’t get in for an appointment through TestIowa. They maybe haven’t had symptoms and never were tested, but still had it.

While we don’t have a full grasp on the numbers, we can still take a look at that daily IDPH case count map and see that something is going on.

It tells us the number of cases in Clinton County has sharply increased over the past week, from 238 positive cases on July 27 to 317 cases on Aug. 3. This is the total number of cases tallied since the beginning of the outbreak.

Another important number is the positivity rate, which is the number of individuals who tested positive divided by the number of tests given in that time period. That figure shows Clinton County on Sunday recorded a positivity rate of 14.5 percent, with 55 people tested and eight of those coming up positive.

Zooming out, we also know that since the outbreak began, 5,473 tests have been done on Clinton County residents. A total of 317 people testing positive puts us at a 5.8 percent positivity rate.

Overall that doesn’t seem like a big rate. But remember, 25 percent of Clinton County’s overall case count was detected in the past week alone.

To that end, The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa at a press conference Monday called upon Gov. Kim Reynolds to issue a statewide mandate to wear a mask.

Signed by 829 Iowans from across the state and from many religions or spiritual traditions and beliefs, the Call to Action to protect the health and safety of Iowans is based on the moral value to “love your neighbor” found across most traditions and beliefs. Their goal is to get Reynolds to create a statewide mandate requiring people to wear a mask inside all public places and outside when unable to social distance by at least 6 feet.

“Governor, we know that you trust Iowans. That is admirable. But with the continued spread of the virus, trust is not keeping Iowans safe. It is time to take action,” said Connie Ryan, executive director of The Interfaith Alliance of Iowa. “The only responsible thing to do as a state – the only moral thing to do – is to add a statewide mandate requiring everyone to wear a mask when they are inside any type of public building or accommodation and when they are outside and cannot social distance.”

If we’re not careful – and by that we mean social distancing, washing our hands, staying home when sick, or wearing masks to stop the spread – we could easily again be faced with closures and stay-at-home orders.

The numbers are pointing to an uptick. It’s up to all of us to slow it down.