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Making heads and tails of the Iowa COVID website, and doing the math

I decided to wade through the COVID number for our county once again. The information on the site is sometimes as clear as mud, so I thought it's only fair to drag you through all of the information too. This is information taken from on Saturday afternoon.

Things like the actual population in each county are NOT included on the state's COVID website, but I added it in for reference. Because I think when you hear numbers about Region 6 and how WE, Benton County are put into this category, look at the breakdown of the sizes of other counties that decide our fate when it came to all of these mandates this last year.

Benton County is lumped into this region with the likes of cities like Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Dubuque, etc. In my opinion, Benton County is NOTHING at all like those counties, and in the future, we should keep that in mind.

In Region 6 


Allamakee (population 13,357)

Benton (25,685)

Black Hawk (130,238)

Bremer (25,304)

Buchanan (20,946)

Clayton (18,022)

Delaware (17,764)

Dubuque (98,089)

Fayette (20,880)

Grundy (12,299)

Howard (9,130)

Jones (20,685)

Linn (228,592)

Winneshiek (19,939)

Total Population in Region 6: 660,930

Hospitalizations in Region 6:

22 are Hospitalized

3 of those are in the ICU

2 admitted in the last 24 hours.

For the time being, I'm going to just leave this information and not dig into it, I'll save that for just the Benton County numbers.

Positive Case Analysis

In Benton County, the state says that we have **2% testing positive, or 299 cases. We've had 5 positive cases in the last week.

Then I looked at the "Positive Test Chart.", which shows a chart that has the history of Benton County. It shows that in late November/early December we had about 700 positive cases, at the peak, so of course, this number would go up and down from day to day, depending on the number of accurate test results. (See comment below for clarification about what this actual number means! Thanks to Soren for clarifying it, I totally read that wrong!)  I won't even mention that my doctor said that the tests given had a 50/50 chance of being our number could be much higher or lower.

**Seeing another math issue on the Iowa website, I thought, "If we are standing at 299 cases, is that 2% of our population of 25,645?" Nope. 513 is. So IF we really only have 299 cases, we are actually at 1.17%.

Also worth noting at the bottom of the page, it says that the "total positive cases" for Benton County are at 2,743. IF these numbers are correct, that means that only 10.7% of the county got sick in the last year. According to the USAFacts, which appears to use the CDC numbers we've only had 2,581 with 2 cases on June 4 which brings it down to 10%. 

According to this site, it shows that the most cases reported in one day were 62 cases with our average at the time of 63 and our peak times were mid-October through Mid-December rather than late November through December. It shows that our first case showed up on March 25, 2020, and peaked on November 14, 2020, with 62 cases reported that day. 

Long term Facilities

The good news, there are no reported outbreaks in the long-term facilities in Benton County.

The "Assessment" page.

Back to the Iowa site, because this is a government page, there is nothing that explains exactly WHAT we are assessing. However, the words, "Distribution by Gender" is included so I ASSUME that it must mean the number of vaccines given. The word "vaccine" does not appear nor any variation of the word on this page. However, if vaccines given are the intent of this page, it also doesn't break down how many one-dose vaccines were given or how many two-dose vaccines were given.

Using the assumption, that of Benton County's assessment of 45,994, we might assume that at LEAST 22,997 out of 25,685 people in our county have been vaccinated, but the number would actually be more because of the single doses that were given. This rough estimate leaves just 2,688 to be vaccinated. Another item to figure in is how many came in from outside the county to be vaccinated. So these numbers can only be a very rough estimate of Benton County residents actually vaccinated.

The Iowa Department of Education site which excludes Central Lutheran in Newhall has the count of children in the county at approximately 3,495, which I also doubt have been vaccinated. 


The Serology page which gives the antibody testing to see if you've already had COVID reports that in Benton County

836 Tested

690 Negative

*145 Positive

*When you do the math old school, that should be 146 Positive, either way, 17% of those tested were positive.

Hospitalization Analysis

According to this page, we have a total of 88 across the state hospitalized. 49 of those cases have COVID as the primary diagnosis, and 39 as a secondary diagnosis. It does not tell us how many are from our area.

Deaths in Benton County

We remain at 55. This page gives the breakdown of information for the whole state. of Iowa.

80 and older made up 58% of the deaths in the state

70-79 at 22%

60-69 at 13%

50-59 at 5%

40-49 at 1%

30-39% 1%

0-29 stand at 0%


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Soren Peterson June 7, 2021, 3:21 pm Positivity represents the percentage of those tested during a specific period whose result was positive (i.e., it has nothing to do with the total population of this or any other county). A positivity rate of 85% would suggest that not enough people were being tested--that is, at one point access to testing was quite limited and so generally only people strongly suspected to have COVID-19 actually got a test. The positivity rate subsequently decreased as testing became more widely available. See for more information about how this percentage is calculated. Editor's Note: Thanks! My next question is why wouldn't they include that tidbit of information on the site :D Thanks for clarifying that!
Soren Peterson June 7, 2021, 7:52 pm It has been mentioned a few times in the media over the last year and a half, so perhaps they think it’s common knowledge.
Gerald Bates June 9, 2021, 10:26 pm I appreciate the homework you put into this. Good work reporting on the Chinese Virus.
Roger Schlarbaum June 11, 2021, 10:13 am On 6-10-2021 Tucker Carlson reported that Israel & other countries have reported the Covid Shot when given to teen age and younger children that heart problems develop. Reports in the US confirm this problem. I think we need to get a lot more information before we inject our children with this vaccine.
Dave Coots June 12, 2021, 2:03 pm Interesting. The problem with the number of deaths is that they are inflated. The major factor of many was not Covid. Think about this for a minute. If a doctor tells you that you have a 99.7% chance of not getting cancer, will you still take chemotherapy?
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