The encouraging news last week that the State of Iowa would increase its frequency in providing COVID-19 data as the number of new cases and hospitalizations continue to climb was quickly tempered with the realization of the small amount of information being updated.

During a press conference in Des Moines on Thursday, interim Director Kelly Garcia, of the Iowa Department of Public Health, announced that changes to the state’s COVID-19 website would include a new dashboard to be updated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

That sounded like a big improvement over the once-per-week data reporting that started in early July after the state previously provided data updated in real time.

Garcia also referenced other “deeper, more comprehensive data” that would continue to only be updated once per week. Turns out, that included all of the county-level data that many residents and local officials seek and that could impact local decision-making.

That’s disappointing. We have been critical in recent weeks of the state’s decision to dial back how often it updates coronavirus data for the public, and we — and many residents — have grown skeptical when state officials vow to increase transparency on the scope of this pandemic. Such transparency is badly needed, but the state has overpromised and underdelivered before.

Still, we hoped that with the delta variant raging, this time would be different. Not so much.

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: Gov. Kim Reynolds has long said that she trusts Iowans to “do the right thing” when it comes to masking and social gatherings. But how are Iowans to make educated decisions without up-to-date information? We all remember how quickly COVID-19 spikes happened in 2020. A week can make a tremendous difference.

Reynolds noted last week that 99% of recent new cases were from the delta variant. Do we expect the spread to simply stop?

Reynolds downplayed the impact on children — most of whom are too young to get the vaccine and many of whom are back in school where their fellow students might or might not be masked. Reynolds said hospitalizations among children with COVID-19 remain “very low,” representing just 2% of current COVID-19 patients.

How many parents are finding comfort in that? Fresh data daily would help parents make informed decisions — “do the right thing” — as to whether their kids should be wearing masks and whether to allow them to go to gatherings outside of school.

There is good news. Iowa is now providing information on the statewide vaccination rates of those with COVID-19 who are hospitalized. As of Sunday, 82.4% of Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19 were unvaccinated, as were 90.3% of people with COVID-19 in intensive care units throughout the state. Those are telling statistics and should help push those on the fence regarding vaccination.

We’ve been down this road before. There’s a great deal of concern among citizens regarding the spike in cases. We hear it almost daily from our readers.

Knowledge is an antidote to fear. Keeping citizens better informed about county-level data would go a long way toward helping people make good decisions about what precautions are necessary.

The Iowa Department of Public Health still is gathering that data, assessing it and sharing it with federal authorities on a daily basis. There’s no reason to keep it from the public, and many reasons not to.

Editorials reflect the consensus of the Telegraph Herald Editorial Board.

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