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Supervisors Review COVID Details, Discuss Solar

By Joseph Schany - | Apr 8, 2021

by Joseph Schany

“We currently have 16 active cases of COVID-19 in Palo Alto County,” began Sarah Strohman, Public Health director, in her weekly COVID update to the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning. “The current positivity rate for the county is at 7 percent.”

According to Strohman, Palo Alto County has had 1,133 total COVID cases and 20 deaths as of Tuesday, April 6.

Strohman provided details to the board on county vaccination totals, including numbers from Public Health as well as HyVee Pharmacy and Hughes Pharmacy.

“Overall, 22 percent of Palo Alto County has been fully vaccinated,” said Strohman. “and 32 percent of the county has had at least one shot.” Breaking the numbers down, Strohman added, “We’ve had 1,938 individuals receive both doses of Moderna and another 964 that have received a first dose but not yet a second. We have 12 people in the county who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

“Are you seeing more doses coming in?” asked Supervisor Roger Faulstick.

“We did receive our first shipment of Johnson & Johnson this week, which is a one-dose vaccine,” replied Strohman. “That has been earmarked for Energy Panel Structures, Inc (EPS) in Graettinger. We have been instructed by the state to start with them. From there, we can move on to other manufacturing and agricultural businesses within the county that have not yet been vaccinated. Once we are finished with that we are going to take it to Iowa Lakes and get students and staff completed. Otherwise, our Moderna shipment is staying stable at 100 doses a week.”

While vaccination supplies remain steady, Strohman noted concerned about the number of individuals requesting the vaccine, seeing a significant decline in requests for clinic appointments.

“We are not getting phone calls to book clinics and so one of two things is going on,” said Strohman. “Either people are not hearing about our clinics or people have already received vaccine and we are just getting to a point where we have vaccinated those who are wanting it.”

Strohman concluded, “It’s now getting to a point where we really need to encourage people to get vaccinated.”

Solar Discussion

In other business, the supervisors spoke to Ben Mullen, Adams County Assessor, to seek answers in the ongoing discussion on solar energy. Mullen, and other leadership in the small southwest Iowa county, ventured into solar energy in 2018, constructing the Southwest Iowa Solar Farm located outside of Corning.

“Our solar farm takes up 11 or 12 acres,” said Mullen. “It’s placed on a 40-acre portion of agricultural ground. The farm has 7,128 solar panels and in 2018, produced 3.146 million kilowatts (kW) of energy and that was in its first year.”

Read the full article in The Democrat.