COVID-19: Iowa now has more than 40,000 total cases; Solon schools won’t require face masks

IDPH COVID-19 map, July 23, 2020.

Another 716 Iowans were confirmed as having COVID-19 between 10 a.m. on Wednesday and 10 a.m. on Thursday, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. The newly reported cases increase the state’s total number of residents who have tested positive to 40,509.

The department also reported another seven deaths from the virus, bringing Iowa’s COVID-19 death toll to 815.

Both Johnson County and Linn County had double-digit increases in their number of COVID-19 cases during the 24-hour period ending at 10 a.m. on Thursday. Johnson County had 30 new cases, bringing its total to 1,681, and Linn County had 44 new cases increasing its total 1,686.

Thursday was the first day since July 5 that Linn County’s total number of COVID-19 cases exceeded Johnson County’s total. On a per capita basis, however, Johnson’s number is much higher than Linn’s. Johnson County had 1,111 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents and Linn County has 746 cases per 100,000 residents as of 10 a.m. on Thursday.

The statewide positivity rate — the percentage of people tested who were confirmed as having COVID-19 — for the 24-hour period ending at 10 a.m. on Thursday was 8.1 percent. In Linn County, the positivity rate was 6.4 percent. Johnson County had a positivity rate of 7.8 percent.

According to IDPH, 28,863 of the Iowans who have tested positive for COVID-19 are now considered recovered. The department considers anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to be recovered after 28 days, unless it is informed otherwise.

Solon schools: in-person classes and no masks required

The Solon Community School District (located in Johnson County) announced this week it will not require students or staff to wear face coverings when schools reopen. The district is also having all students attend class in-person every day, except for those students whose families choose to enroll them in the district’s online learning option.

Although it will not require their use, the district will provide face coverings for students and staff, according the SCSD Return to Learn Plan published on Monday.

The Gazette reported that SCSD Superintendent Davis Eidahl said he believes if the district strongly encourages students and staff to wear face coverings, it will have a higher percentage of students and staff using such PPE than districts such as Iowa City and Cedar Rapids that will mandate the use of them.

SCSD has four schools: Lakeview Elementary, Solon Intermediate School, Solon Middle School and Solon High School. During the 2019-20 school year, approximately 1,500 students were enrolled in the district.

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