Effective April 1, the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (Iowa HHS) will no longer require positive COVID-19 tests to be reported to the state Public Health Division. Since March 2020, any COVID-19 test processed in a clinical lab was required to be reported to the state Public Health Division and then to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This type of reporting no longer accurately reflects the prevalence of the virus in the state.
Director of Johnson County Public Health (JCPH), Danielle Pettit-Majewski states, “As we look towards to the unwinding of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, I want to look back on the past three years and express gratitude to our community for listening to the science, following our guidance re: isolation and quarantine, masking, and vaccination. Johnson County boasts the highest vaccination rate in the State. Your actions absolutely saved lives. I also want to thank all of the community partners – especially those in healthcare, education and social services - who helped with coordination of messaging, response and vaccination. This might have been a global pandemic, but response happens at the local level. Your collaboration was critical to the success of the response. Additionally, I want to personally thank all of the staff at Johnson County Public Health. Your resilience and willingness to go above and beyond for the citizens of Johnson County cannot be overlooked. Words cannot express how grateful I am to get to work with such a dedicated team.”
Beginning April 1, Iowa’s COVID-19 reporting dashboard will be replaced by the incorporation of surveillance data into the weekly respiratory virus surveillance report published by the Division of Public Health and available at https://hhs.iowa.gov/influenza/reports. The report will be published weekly, similar to existing reporting standards for other respiratory viruses. The Public Health Division will continue to review and analyze COVID-19 and other health data from several sources, including Syndromic Surveillance which the state has launched through the Health Information Exchange allowing near real time monitoring of illnesses.
JCPH also is ending some of their reporting with the State’s wind-down.
- JCPH will cease use of their COVID-19 self-report submission tool on March 31
- The Johnson County COVID-19 hub will discontinue on May 11
- JCPH will direct community to the state’s weekly respiratory virus report for up to date COVID-19 information
TestIowa at Home will continue to offer free COVID-19 testing for Iowans through the end of 2023.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services announced that based on current COVID-19 trends, they plan for the federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID-19 to expire at the end of the day on May 11, 2023. More information is available at https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2023/02/09/fact-sheet-covid-19-public-health-emergency-transition-roadmap.html
JCPH staff will continue to plan off-site clinics to vaccinate under-vaccinated and uninsured persons as well as continue to allocate vaccines from the allotted state supply to providers until the federal government transitions to commercialization as well as continue to promote COVID-19 eligibility and information to the public.
Sam Jarvis, Community Health Manager for JCPH states, “We have come so far since March 8, 2020 and that is due to the hard work of our team and the support from our community. We were able to stand up a contact tracing team, our community recognized the importance of testing and wearing masks in public, and we are the highest vaccinated county in the state. Through collaboration and support with our community and partners, we were able to accomplish so much and look forward to continuing our collective efforts toward other public health issues to improve the health of our community.”