Iowan’s struggle with long COVID enters third year

Darcy Havel-Sturdevant thought she’d be working by now, two years after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Likewise, she thought she would have been there completely for her daughter, age 3 when Havel-Sturdevant was first diagnosed but now 5. “Throughout the last two years, she’s been really great with helping me if I need help,” Havel-Sturdevant, 35, of Iowa City said about her daughter, Rayne. “If I get really sad or frustrated she’ll start singing ‘Rockabye Baby’ to me and ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.’ So that shows like the level of empathy and compassion that children have, you know, at that young age, especially, at least in my case, during the pandemic.”

Havel-Sturdevant said she tried to be optimistic that COVID-19 will end for her but more likely must accept what she called a new baseline for normal living. IowaWatch has been following Havel-Sturdevant’s bout with COVID-19 this past year because of her extraordinary problems with the infection.

Iowa schools shore up mental health services, thanks to $30M in CARES Act funds

Principal Chris Myers sought to make mental health counseling available to students in the rural district of Graettinger-Terril for nearly four years. But each time he thought he might be close, money, or lack thereof, got in the way. Myers’ luck changed in July 2020, when Iowa received $50 million in federal funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, aka the CARES Act. The act passed in March 2020 as a $2.2 trillion relief package to respond to the economic fallout from COVID-19. Of that $50 million in CARES Act money, $30 million was allocated per capita, at $9.50 per Iowan.

Pedati talks COVID vaccine, demands of public health, Test Iowa closings and more

Iowa’s state epidemiologist thinks Iowa is not at a turning point with the delta virus, so far. In an interview with IowaWatch July 16, Dr. Caitlin Pedati also called for Iowans to continue to get vaccinated, use social distancing, masks and other safety measures related to the coronavirus that officially arrived in Iowa in March 2020. She discussed the difficulties of public health and stressed the perseverance of health care workers. 

“If I could leave you with anything it would be there really are some wonderful people in public health who never stopped working and are not going to stop even when it’s hard and even when it’s not perfect, because we believe that it’s important work. And we so appreciate the chance to get, you know, good messages out there,” Pedati said. 

The number of Iowans getting COVID-19 vaccinations has dropped considerably since June and new cases are rising quickly. New cases and hospitalizations have trended up with daily positives doubling over the last two weeks from an average of 76 cases to 199 per day.

As Iowa opens up, COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to slow

It’s a hot evening at the Broadway Neighborhood Center in Iowa City, home to the University of Iowa. Student volunteers have set up a mobile COVID vaccination clinic among the apartment complexes that house many immigrant and refugee families. 

But the clinic struggles to attract residents. In recent weeks, demand for the COVID-19 vaccine in Iowa has declined sharply, even though less than 70 percent of Iowans have had at least one dose. 

Andrew Coghill-Behrends, the center’s site director, hits the streets. His goal is to get at least 20 people in for the shot. “It’s really about talking to people and seeing if you can find them where they’re at, and encourage them to come over, said Coghill-Behrends.