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COVID-19 vaccination rates drop, cases rise in Winnebago County

COVID-19 vaccination rates drop, cases rise in Winnebago County

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Winnebago County Public Health Director Julie Sorenson updated supervisors on COVID-19 cases and vaccinations on April 27, noting that case numbers have been increasing in the past two weeks.

Sorenson said that there were more than 20 cases reported the past seven days, bumping up the average number of cases to about 7.9 in the county during the past 14 days.

“It had been really low, one here and one there,” she said.

Sorenson also reported that 6,880 Winnebago County residents had received a COVID-19 vaccine and 3,240 had been fully vaccinated. She said her public health agency and its partners had administered 4,610 vaccinations.

Sorenson reported that the county had 10 Johnson and Johnson vaccine doses remaining and would be administering them in the next 10 days. She noted that she had five individuals waiting for the Johnson and Johnson doses on her list “who were very adamant that they were waiting for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to come back.”

Sorenson said county public health officials have not been informed when more Johnson and Johnson vaccines may become available at this time.

She also reported that Winnebago County had declined all of its COVID-19 allocation for the week due to still having 100 in stock and only a handful of vaccine recipients on the agency’s vaccination list. She also noted that the state is receiving fewer vaccines from the federal level due to reduced demand for the vaccines in the state.

Sorenson said the county is still planning to complete a number of second shot/booster clinics in the upcoming weeks.

In other business:

• Supervisors approved Sheriff Steve Hepperly’s request to create a new sheriff sergeant position, effective with the start of the new fiscal year on July 1. Hepperly said the person named to the new internal staff position would essentially be a night shift supervisor who oversees scheduling and training as well as other supervisory duties.

Candidates will need to have five years of deputy experience. It is a common structure for many similar-sized sheriff departments, according to Hepperly, with Worth and Kossuth Counties having sergeants.

“It sounds like a good thing and incentive,” said supervisor Bill Jensvold.

• Hepperly also reported that Deputy Brandon Bengtson graduated from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy on April 21 and returned to the deputy force on April 26. He also reported that a deputy was involved in an accident that totaled a squad truck. The deputy was fine and without injury and the vehicle is fully insured, but will need to be replaced.

• County Engineer Scott Meinders reported that Alliant Energy contractor Michaels Corporation started its overhead and underground electric project along 400th Street from Leland east to Winnebago Lutheran Church on April 28. Workers will be boring for underground lines in several locations there.

• Supervisors heard the concerns of landowners David Heimendinger and Robert Hanson regarding ponding water in ditches adjacent to their property in drainage district 5, lateral 43. Supervisors approved rescinding a resolution in that drainage district to take a closer look at the issues and get more information before considering the establishment of a public hearing date and time on the matter.

• Supervisors also approved a contract for engineering services with Jacobson-Westergard for drainage work in district 5.

Rob Hillesland is community editor for the Summit-Tribune. He can be reached at 641-421-0534, or by email at


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