Individuals with underlying health conditions now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

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By Audrey Posten, Times-Register


Only one positive COVID-19 test was reported in Clayton County over the past week, according to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). The county’s total was at 1,683 positive tests as of March 8.


Over two weeks, nine positive tests have been recorded.


The county’s 14-day positivity rate, which measures the percentage of positive tests in that span, currently sits at .7 percent. Over seven days, the positivity rate is .4 percent


IDPH said Iowa had 146 positive COVID-19 tests on Monday. The state’s total number of positive tests is at 367,177, an increase of 4,351 from a week ago. 


Overall, Iowa’s 14-day and seven-day positivity rates both sit at 4.1 percent.


As of Monday, 168 people around the state were hospitalized, down 29 people from last week. Of those hospitalized, 37 were in the ICU. 


One COVID-19 related death was reported in Clayton County over the past week, according to IDPH. Since the start of the pandemic, 54 Clayton County residents have died.


There have been 5,559 total deaths in Iowa, including one reported on Monday. Per IDPH, 87 Iowans have died as a result of COVID-19 in the past week.


Vaccine Update

While new COVID-19 cases and deaths are declining around the state, the number of vaccinations continues to increase. As of March 8, IDPH said 860,517 COVID-19 vaccination doses have been administered to Iowa residents. That’s an increase of 181,501 doses from the week before. 


In Clayton County, 2,528 vaccination series have been initiated, while 1,381 series have been completed. 


Effective March 8, IDPH announced providers can officially begin vaccinating additional priority populations. Individuals under age 65 with certain underlying health conditions that may put them at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are now eligible.


Qualifying medical conditions include:


•chronic kidney disease

•COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)

•Down Syndrome

•heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathies

•immunocompromised state, or a weakened immune system, from solid organ transplant

•obesity (body mass index of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2) or severe obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)


•Sickle cell disease


•Type 2 diabetes mellitus 


A full listing and information on qualifying medical conditions can be found on the CDC website.


According to a statement from the Clayton County Board of Health, Clayton County vaccine providers will continue to prioritize those age 65 and older and those who qualify under Phase 1B tier groups as set forth by IDPH.


“We ask for anyone who is newly eligible due to underlying medical conditions and under age 65 to have patience as we complete these two previously eligible groups,” said the press release. “We anticipate increased vaccine doses in the coming weeks and will work with our local partners to make them available as quickly as possible.”


Individuals age 65 or older can continue to call one of the below numbers to place their name on a vaccine list to be contacted as doses are available: 

•Guttenberg Hospital and Clinics: Individuals may call (563) 252-5571 and leave a message with their contact information.

•MercyOne Elkader Medical Center: Individuals may call (563) 245-7089 and leave a message with their contact information. 

•Regional Family Health - Strawberry Point: Individuals may call (563) 927-7575 or visit

Individuals age 64 and under with qualifying underlying conditions can visit one of the below pharmacy sites to place their name on a vaccine wait list to be contacted as doses become available:

•Hartig Drug Guttenberg:

•Guttenberg Pharmacy: 

•Clayton Drug: (563) 933-4762 or (563) 245-2530


In the meantime, the Clayton County Board of Health reminds residents, towns and businesses of the importance of continuing efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 


That includes continuing to wear masks when around others who do not live with you, social distancing, limiting the number of people participating in gatherings, avoiding events that do not implement social distancing measures, avoiding poorly ventilated spaces and continuing to wash hands often and cover coughs.


“We recommend businesses continue with mitigation efforts,” said the Clayton County Board of Health. “As we continue to navigate the future of COVID-19, we are encouraged by the availability of vaccines. Even after vaccination, the recommendations for masks, washing hands and social distancing will continue. Along with the state, we will continue to diligently monitor case numbers, positivity rate and deaths. This data is monitored daily and will eventually lead to a time when mitigation efforts will be adjusted.”

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