DALLAS COUNTY, Iowa — After months of city leaders and school officials asking for zip code coronavirus data, Dallas County Public Health confirmed to Local 5 that it would be releasing that information to the public Friday on its website.
According to a spokeswoman for the department, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) gave guidance on what information to release this week.
Zip code-specific coronavirus data has been available through a private portal that local public health department officials have been able to access for several weeks.
On Thursday morning, the Waukee mayor and city officials were finally given zip code data for their city after being told it would not be released. That new, specific information pushed city leaders to delay enacting a citywide mask mandate.
Waukee Mayor Courtney Clarke told Local 5 getting exact information about Waukee's coronavirus cases has been difficult for months.
"This entire year has been one of those where we are getting data from multiple points," Clarke said. "We are tracking it through our EMT calls when they have upper respiratory symptoms and that's not a great way to know what's happening and so it has been very challenging to make those decisions."
On Wednesday night, Clarke received a message from Dallas County Public Health, informing her the zip code coronavirus data would be given on Thursday morning.
Dallas County zip code data is expected to be available next week here
When Clarke and her team read over the information, she decided to pause her efforts to enforce a mask mandate.
"It's really hard to make real-time assessments of numbers based on that," said Clarke, referencing the state's coronavirus website data and the county's coronavirus information.
The zip code data for Dallas County residents to look at will be a 14-day cumulative number of case counts in a particular area. Zip codes that have a population under 100 will not have data show up on the dashboard, per state guidance to local public health leaders.
Case counts of five or fewer will also not be reported, according to Dallas County Public Health. The data will be updated every day with a time stamp.
Dallas County health officials received guidance from the state about sharing zip code data on Sept. 16.
Hardin County public health officials were the first to publish zip code coronavirus data, which they did on Facebook.