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Dubuque County's COVID-19 14-day positivity rate had eclipsed the 15% threshold as of 9 a.m., according to the state tracking website.

It placed the county's 14-day rate at 15.5%, surpassing one of the metrics that state officials are using to determine whether schools can move from in-person to remote learning.

According to the state's website, Dubuque County is one of 12 counties in the state that was topping that 15% mark.

However, the state's method of calculating 14-day positivity depresses the 14-day positivity rates that it reports.

For example, as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dubuque County had recorded 644 new confirmed cases and 2,642 new tests during the prior two weeks. That equated to a positivity rate of 24.4%.

But the state’s practice of not counting recent confirmed cases until all data is received, such as the date of birth of the testee, drives down the positivity rate even though those cases have been confirmed in a specific county. As a result, the state reported the 14-day positivity rate as just 14.9% as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The state's practice impacts positivity rates in counties across Iowa, so there likely are at least a handful of other counties that topped the 15% threshold as of 9 a.m. today.

At that time, the state listed six counties with positivity rates between 13% and 14.9%, and 14 more with positivity rates of 10% to 12.9%.

In Dubuque County, school leaders continue to use the state-calculated positivity rate as their benchmarks.

And on Tuesday night, as the county was poised to top the 15% threshold, school leaders told the Telegraph Herald that their districts still were falling far short of the second benchmark need to request full virtual learning — a 10% absenteeism rate due to illness.

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