Polk County Health Department Sees Increase of COVID-19 Omicron BA.5 Subvariant Cases

Published 7/18/2022 3:59:40 PM

July 18, 2022

(Des Moines, IA) –  Polk County is seeing an increase of COVID-19 Omicron BA.5 Subvariant cases. The BA.5 subvariant is highly contagious and quickly becoming the predominant strain in Iowa and the United States.  COVID-19 hospitalizations are also on the rise.

“A majority of the community is finding out they are positive for COVID-19 through at-home tests,” said Helen Eddy, Polk County Health Department Director. “One of the best ways the community can help to identify the spread of COVID-19 in Polk County is to fill out our COVID-19 self-test survey.”

If you or a family member have obtained an at-home COVID-19 self-test kit and your results were positive, please provide answers to the survey. The questions are used as a surveillance tool to identify the number of individuals who have tested positive through at-home tests. This will provide the Health Department a more detailed picture into our county's positivity rate. Individuals can find the survey on the Health Department’s website. If you don’t have computer access or need help filling out the website, call our call center at (515) 323-5221.

The Health Department would also like to remind the community to look at expiration dates of self-test COVID-19 tests. If they are expired, you will not receive accurate results. This may include some of the tests that were received free through the government.

“An increase of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations means we need to increase our precautions and rethink about the activities we take part in,” said Eddy. “This is incredibly important if we are around individuals who are high risk and cannot be vaccinated.”

The Health Department urges the community to follow COVID-19 prevention strategies to keep everyone safe and healthy:

  • Wear a mask indoors and indoor group settings.
  • Practice social distancing. This includes rethinking in-person meetings and events.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • If you are waiting results of a COVID-19 test, wait until you get results.
  • Check your vaccine records to see if you are eligible for boosters.

For more information about COVID-19, please visit our website.