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MASON CITY, Iowa – Over two dozen people showed up outside MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center late Wednesday afternoon to protest mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.
Trinity Health, the parent company of MercyOne, announced on July 8 that it would require all colleagues, clinical staff, contractors, and those conducting business in its health care facilities be vaccinated against COVID-19. That decision affects 117,000 employees in 22 states nationwide and includes MercyOne employees in Mason City and nursing students at North Iowa Area Community College.
A protest organizer says they aren't just demonstrating against mandatory vaccinations but in favor of people being allowed to make informed decisions on their own health and medical care. Some of the protesters held signs asking passing drivers to honk if they supported them and numerous vehicles did honk as they passed by. Protesters say they plan to be outside MercyOne in Mason again Thursday and Friday.
As of Wednesday, August 4, data from the Iowa Department of Public Health states that daily positive COVID tests in Iowa have increased from 50 on June 5 to 715 on August 2. Daily COVID deaths, however, have remained steady at 3 or fewer since the beginning of June. Both are below the pandemic high points in Iowa of 7,865 positive tests on November 9, 2020, and 75 COVID deaths on November 19, 2020.