Scott County medical director: QCA reopened ‘more rapidly’ than preferred

The Quad Cities COVID-19 Coalition held its meeting on Tuesday addressing the current surge in case numbers.

Here are the numbers:

Scott County:

Total of 1,322

Total deaths in Scott County: 11

Rock Island County:

14 new cases since Monday; total of 1,373

Currently in hospital: 14

Total deaths in Rock Island County: 30

During the meeting, Scott County Medical Director Dr. Louis Katz made remarks about how the Quad Cities area reopened “more rapidly” than preferred and that’s why there is a recent surge in case numbers. “The point I wanted to make here is that there’s an inflection point in middle and late June that is perfect timing for the concerns we had in May that reopening was coming too soon,” Dr. Katz said. “Basically, the bulk of the most dangerous reopening occurred on or about Memorial Day. It takes two to three weeks then, for the cases to be diagnosed and reported. We have no doubt then that this is related to reopening more rapidly than many of us would have preferred.”

Dr. Katz said he believes young adults could do better at social distancing. “When we do a few simple data manipulations, we see that the median age has fallen from around 50 to below 30 years. And we think this represents failure to social distance by young adults who A. feel they’re invulnerable, B. believe it’s important that they tend not to get sick. Although these are clinical onsets, these are people with the illness, so we see that’s clearly not true. And C. the fact that they can transmit to people with higher risk for bad outcomes. So this is really about failure particularly in younger age cohorts. So use good sense, and follow the public health guidelines.”

Dr. Katz also mentioned his concern about healthcare capacity over the next four weeks and cannot predict whether the surge is going to end. “In the metro area, and specifically on the Iowa side of the river, the number of hospitalizations is dramatically higher than it was in June, but not yet at levels that we think are going to compromise the ability to provide care, but we’re watching that very closely,” he said.

Another point Dr. Katz mentioned during the meeting is that the top priority is making in-person schooling a safe option by late August, but said current trends aren’t promising.

“But we’re still a month away from those and with appropriate intervention from Des Moines, and with appropriate cooperation, with common sense recommendations for social distancing and masking, they really haven’t changed at all over the last number of weeks,” Dr. Katz said. “If the populace decides to adhere, we may get lucky. But right now I’m very pessimistic as to what degree we’ll be able to reopen schools in late August.”

The coalition also announced the Rock Island testing site is now closed, but the Iowa testing site at NorthPark Mall is still available.

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