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Taylor County Public Health Agency

6/3/2020

 

We’ve learned of another COVID-19 testing opportunity in our region!  Clarinda Regional Health Center in Clarinda has been named a Test Iowa drive-thru testing site starting today, June 3rd.  The Test Iowa initiative is open to any Iowan that feels they need to be tested.

To schedule an appointment, visit TestIowa.com and complete an assessment. After the assessment, it will determine if you need to be tested and ask what site you choose.  At this point you need to indicate that you want to be tested at a clinic. You will then have the option to select Clarinda Regional as your clinic choice. You will then receive a unique ID and QR Code and be able to schedule an appointment through the clinic.

Currently, CRHC's site will be open today from 3-5 p.m., Thursday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m.-11 a.m. with more dates and times possible based on demand.

Those getting tested are asked to exit off the Highway 2 bypass onto West Glenn Miller Drive, turn east on West Laperla Drive and then turn south onto Essie Davison Drive and wait to be received by a CRHC team member. Following testing, patients are asked to exit onto Highway 71.

For more information and to complete the assessment, visit TestIowa.com.

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6/1/2020

We’ve fielded several questions over the last couple days about a variety of topics and wanted to share.

 

Do I have to self-isolate after traveling?

COVID-19 virus is circulating across the United States. While there is no longer a recommendation to self-isolate for 14 days after returning home from travel outside of Iowa and within the United States (as long as the traveler remains well and has not been identified as a close contact of an ill individual), travelers should continue to:

  • Clean your hands often.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub your hands together until they feel dry.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with others.
  • Keep 6 feet of physical distance from others.
  • Avoiding close contact is especially important if you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.
  • Wear a cloth face covering in public.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes.

 

The Centers for Disease Control continues to recommend that persons returning from international travel stay home for 14 days after they return.

 

What is suggested for critical workers who’ve been exposed?

Critical infrastructure workers, including personnel in 16 different sectors of work including:

  • Federal, state, & local law enforcement
  • 911 call center employees
  • Fusion Center employees
  • Hazardous material responders from government and the private sector
  • Janitorial staff and other custodial staff
  • Workers – including contracted vendors – in food and agriculture, critical manufacturing, informational technology, transportation, energy and government facilities

 

Critical infrastructure workers may continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community. A potential exposure means being a household contact or having close contact within 6 feet of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The timeframe for having contact with an individual includes the period of time of 48 hours before the individual became symptomatic.

Critical Infrastructure workers who have had an exposure but remain asymptomatic should adhere to the following practices prior to and during their work shift:

Pre-Screen: Employers should measure the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to them starting work. Ideally, temperature checks should happen before the individual enters the facility.

Regular Monitoring: As long as the employee does not have a temperature or symptoms, they should self-monitor under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program. Wear a Mask: The employee should wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure. Employers can issue facemasks or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.

Social Distance: The employee should maintain 6 feet and practice social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace.

Disinfect and Clean Workspaces: Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment routinely.

For additional Guidance visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/critical-workers-implementing-safety-practices.pdf

 

What is defined as a close contact and when is a person infectious?

Contact is defined as being less that 6 feet away from someone for more than 15 minutes.  This is new guidance as if was previously 15 minutes.

 

Infectious period for asymptomatic cases is defined as 10 days before through 10 days after the first date the patient tested positive for COVID-19 infection. For example: I tested positive on April 15th – I was infectious from April 5 through April 25.

 

Infectious period for symptomatic cases is defined as 48 hours before illness started until the patient is fever free for at least 72 hours AND other symptoms have improved AND at least 10 days have passed since the first symptom began.

 

A household contact of mine tested positive, do I need to quarantine?

Yes.  All household contacts (adults and children) and close contacts (defined above) need to quarantine, preferably at home, for 14 days after last potential exposure and always maintain social distance from others.  Self-monitor symptoms daily: check and record temp twice a day; contact your provider if you become feverish or have temp 100.4o F or higher, develop cough or shortness of breath, develop milder symptoms (soar throat, muscle aches, tiredness, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell), and avoid contact with people at high risk for severe illness.

 

For example:

Close contact – Jim is a good friend of yours and on May 1 you helped him at his home where you were in close contact for long periods of time.  On May 3 you learned Jim tested positive for COVID-19. A member of the case investigation team contacted you as you were identified as a a close contact of Jim’s though the case investigation process.  You will need to quarantine until May 15, which is 14 days from the last time you saw Jim.

 

Household contact – On May 1 Your wife, Jane, wasn’t feeling well, had a fever and chills and decided to call her provider and it was determined she be tested for COVID-19.  On May 3 Jane was contacted with positive test results.  As part of the case investigation process, a member of the state reached out to Jane to identify close contacts and household contacts. Household contacts include you, your 16 yr old daughter and 4 yr old son.  They regularly check in with Jane on her condition and symptoms.  On May 12 they determine that she’s met all the criteria to be considered recovered. You and your children, the household contacts, would need to quarantine until May 26 because you’ve all had daily contact with Jane throughout her entire illness and infectious period.  The recommended guidance is for all household contacts to quarantine for 14 days after last potential exposure.  In this case, last potential exposure would be May 12, the day Jane was considered recovered.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine-isolation.html

 

All contacts (asymptomatic and symptomatic) are recommended (not required) to be tested for COVID-19 infection (testing should not occur before 48 hours after their earliest exposure to the COVID-19 infected case. For example: (From the examples above) if you were with Jim on May 1, you should test on May 4 or later.  If you are the spouse and children of Jane, you should test on May 4 or later.)

 

https://idph.iowa.gov/Portals/1/userfiles/61/covid19/Contact%20Tracing%2005052020.pdf

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05/22/2020

Memorial Day is a common time for gatherings of friends and family to welcoming in Summer and remembers those that served our country.  Like many other events and activities, Memorial Day should be different this year.

It is important not to let our guard down this coming holiday weekend.  Be smart as you celebrate Memorial Day by keeping gatherings to 10 or fewer people. Plans may be modified to ensure social distancing and good hygiene. Please celebrate safely this weekend. Anyone who is high risk should continue to stay home.

On May 20th, the Governor opened up more businesses and activities throughout the State.  Her proclamation with brief explanations can be found here: https://governor.iowa.gov/press-release/gov-reynolds-signs-new-proclamation-continuing-the-state-public-health-emergency-3

If additional guidance is provided, I will email you or you can find it here: https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus/Guidance

We’ve fielded questions about why our office is not sharing more information on the recent confirmed cases. Iowa Code Chapter 22 prohibits the release of any information that could lead to the identification of any individual or facility.  Contact tracing is done with the confirmed case to identify close contacts who should all monitor their health and symptoms and self-isolate.  Close contacts of the confirmed case that are at risk will be contacted.  There is no additional general public guidance that would result from providing more information about a case. So, no matter where they shop or work, the guidance to stay safe provided to the public is the same.   Because ALL residents are urged to stay home as much as possible, social distance, avoid large groups of people, wear a mask in public, wash hand frequently, disinfect common surfaces, etc.  This is needed by everyone, regardless of a confirmed case, because we know there is community spread throughout Iowa.  The risk of the virus is the same for the general public regardless of where the confirmed case visited or shopped, what town they live in, etc.   There are practices in place for the confirmed case to contact their employer and a procedure for doing so.  If other public health offices or employers are releasing this information, that is on them.  We are following Iowa Code laws and recommendations by IDPH and only releasing the age range.

Please support your medical community during this challenging time and learn the facts:
• Testing continues to take place routinely through local medical care providers, surrounding medical care providers, employer/strike teams, and TestIowa https://www.testiowa.com
• Local large employers are testing workers due to exposure to positive cases
• Symptoms of COVID-19 include: cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, loss of sense of taste/smell, and sometimes gastro-intestinal symptoms (such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting). Call your healthcare provider if you have any of these symptoms!
• Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus
• Older adults and those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk; this includes people who smoke.
• Community spread is occurring in all Iowa communities. Wearing a cloth mask when out for essential errands helps protect you and those you come into contact with
• The science of COVID-19 continues to evolve
• Most people recover from this viral illness - the goal is to not overwhelm hospital systems so all those in need can receive care/treatment.
• The virus is highly contagious. One person can spread this illness rapidly without intent. Stay home, even if you are mildly ill.
• Public health, in Taylor and Adams Counties, opted to have the State, with support from the National Guard, complete all contact tracing for positive cases in both counties.
• For contact tracing, they look back 2 days prior to symptom onset for all individuals who had contact with the positive case (within 6 feet for 30 minutes or more).

Enjoy your weekend – be smart and stay safe!

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05/20/2020

Two additional positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Adams County. One individual is an older adult (age 61-80) and the other is middle age (age 41-60).

This is Adams County’s 2nd and 3rd confirmed cases of COVID-19.

 

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05/20/2020

Another positive case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Taylor County.  The individual is an adult (age 18-40).  This is Taylor County’s 4th confirmed case of COVID-19. 

Please click here for a document containing answers to common questions is attached.

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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
05/18/2020
Contact: Joan Gallagher, Administrator
admin@taylorcountyhealth.com

Third Case of COVID-19 Confirmed in Taylor County

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Taylor County Public Health have identified 1 additional
case of COVID-19 in the county. The individual is adult aged (age 18-40).
“Preventative measures are key to slow the spread,” said Taylor County Public Health Director Joan
Gallagher. “It’s important for everyone to stay home as much as possible and only leave for essential
errands like getting groceries or medications. When you run these errands, send only one person from the
household, if possible.”
If you are experiencing any symptoms, call your health care provider before going into the office. The
provider may have special instructions for you and will determine if you should be tested.
Persons with symptoms of COVID-19 should self-isolate (regardless of whether they were tested for COVID-19)
until after these three things have happened:
• They have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of
medicine that reduces fevers) AND
• Their other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath has
improved) AND
• At least 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared.
Persons who test positive for COVID-19 but do not experience symptoms should self-isolate until:
• At least 10 days have passed since the date of the first positive test AND
• They continue to have no symptoms (no cough or shortness of breath) since the test.
For more information on COVID-19 in Iowa, visit the IDPH webpage at https://idph.iowa.gove/EmergingHealth-Issues/Novel-Coronovirus

To view the news release, please click here....

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News from Taylor County Public Health Agency

 

Update 04/15/2020

The IDPH Coronavirus website has been updated to reflect additional data! You can see to-date Taylor County has performed 44 tests with one confirmed positive result and Adams County has performed 19 tests with no confirmed positive results. Please remember that even though there are minimal positive test results, it does not mean Covid-19 isn't here. We strongly urge the community to continue following IDPH recommendations:

  • Staying home as much as possible
  • Run only essential errands, go alone and practice social distancing. Consider wearing a cloth face covering when running errands in case you are a carrier of Covid-19 without current symptoms.
  • Avoid groups of 10 or more people
  • Practice social distancing by staying 6' away from other people
  • Stay at home if you are not feeling well

https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/

Connections Area Agency on Aging is offering meals for seniors. Meals are frozen or shelf-stable and can be delivered to the senior’s door.  Care packages containing toilet paper, paper towels and other non-perishable food items are also available.   Please view the attachment below and share with those that may benefit from this program.

There is still a need for homemade masks.  IDPH guidelines on masks can be found here: https://idph.iowa.gov/Portals/1/userfiles/7/Homemade%20Mask%20Design%20Guidance%203_28_20.pdf

Another pattern can be found here: https://www.unitypoint.org/filesimages/COVID-19/UnityPointHealth-OlsonMask-Instructions.pdf

Video and picture tutorials can be found here: https://www.joann.com/make-to-give-response/

Contact our office or your local Emergency Management for mask donations.

Not familiar with a sewing machine, but have supplies to make masks?  No problem!  Let us know and we can get your supplies to those that can sew masks.

 

Personal Protective Equipment is still in short supply; not only state-wide but in our local nursing homes, clinics and hospitals.  If you are able to donate any PPE, please contact Emergency Management. 

Taylor County: 712-542-7284
Adams County: 641-322-3623

Stay safe.  Stay home. Stay aware.

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New update 04/10/2020

Click here for the New Update

Click here or see below for Letter from the Easter Bunny  and T-Shirt Mask Instructions

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Another helpline is available through ISU Extension. 

Please see below for more information on this helpline.  You are still able to call 2-1-1 for Coronavirus questions as well.

 

Who is in my social circle during the pandemic?

Your social group should include your immediate household members only.  Those that you eat with and sleep with 7 days a week.  Social distancing needs to be practiced with all other individuals.  We must avoid having friends over for the weekend, extended family birthday parties, neighborhood basketball games, etc.  For those that are considered essential and must go to work; please be smart about your interactions.  Wear a mask, ensure you are 6 ft. away, wash your hands and wipe down your work area often.  Please remember that COVID-19 does not have legs, we give it legs to spread when we leave home and do not follow social distancing guidelines. We know that this is hard and is a great sacrifice for many.  COVID-19 requires all of us to make changes to our daily routines and has created challenges for us all. Our common goal is to stop the spread of this virus and get back to a new normal. It requires patience, perseverance and understanding by all.

 

Garage sales/Trash-to-Treasure Weekends

We know it is the time of year for trash-to-treasure weekends and garage sales. Social distancing guidelines NEED to be followed. Less than 10 people in a setting and everyone needs to be 6 feet apart. Following these guidelines protects you, your family and your community. All social distancing rules should be followed by the both the sellers and shoppers. Remember, your community will police you if you are not following social distancing guidelines.  If we receive any more guidance on this, we will pass it along.

 

Face Covering Do’s and Dont’s

DO:
Make sure you can breathe through it
Wear it whenever going out in public
Make sure it covers your nose and mouth
Wash after using

DON’T:
Use if under two years old
Use surgical masks or other PPE intended for healthcare workers


See some COVID-19 face covering questions and answers: https://bit.ly/34cFym6

I attached the directions for homemade masks from IDPH if needed.

 

Essential Runs

Essential errands require one person. Keep the rest of your family at home. Your social circle should be the people you live with - those you eat with and sleep with 7 days a week

 

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Update from Taylor County Public Health Agency

 

  • How are food resources changing during the Coronavirus Pandemic?

See below for the food resources for all ages document

 

  • My family is planning on visiting our grandparents and other shut-ins.  Is this a good idea?

Don’t put older family members at risk for COVID-19 by visiting them in person. Call grandparents or invite them to a video chat. Keep your loved ones safe by staying connected while physically distant.  Those most at risk for COVID-19 are an older adult (65+), those with underlying medical conditions (heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer), and those with compromised immune system from a medical condition or treatment (chemotherapy) https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-at-higher-risk.html

 

  • How can I avoid Coronavirus scams?

Consumers can find more information on scams related to the pandemic, including phishing scams and robocalls, bogus treatments, fake or unapproved test kits and charity fraud at ftc.gov/coronavirus 

 

  • Why hasn’t the Iowa Governor issued a “shelter-in-place” order for Iowans?

Recently Governor Reynolds spoke with Linda Upmeyer, Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, and shared the following reasons why she hasn’t ordered a shelter-in-place:

  • Iowa’s population density is much smaller than most states (The New York City metro area’s population density is nearly 100x larger than Iowa’s)
  • Iowa does not utilize mass public transit with often spreads disease
  • Iowa does not have large apartment buildings where thousands of people live
  • A shelter-in-place order would strain local law enforcement resources

Governor Reynolds has already taken significant action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 such as non-essential business closures, suspending non-essential surgeries, and encouraging Iowans to stay at home and self-isolate. Many of the Shelter-in-Place orders that have been implemented in other states cover what is already being done in Iowa. Given the varying shelter-in-place orders from other states, Iowa’s approach is both comparable and, in many cases, stronger.

Iowa is a unique state in the fact that we provide much of the agriculture and manufacturing for the country, and we need to keep those businesses operational during this time. Iowa produces 1/11 of the nation’s food supply and is home to 31 of the largest 100 food manufacturers in the world. Iowa is the 4th highest concentration of manufacturing employees of any state in the nation, producing crucial supplies.

Moving forward, the Department of Public Health is looking at the following 4 factors in considering whether further mitigation strategies need to happen:

  • % of population greater than 65 years of age
  •  % of identified cases requiring hospitalization
  •  Rate of infection per 100,000 population in the past 14 days
  • Long-term care facility outbreaks

 

  • What is the difference between isolation, quarantine and social distancing?

Check out the attached document below that explains how these 3 measures can slow the spread of COVID-19

 

  • What are the links for reliable information?

Iowa Dept Public Health (IDPH): https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus/Healthcare

Centers for Disease Control (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

COVID-19 in Iowa: https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/

Taylor Co. Public Health Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/TaylorCountyPublicHealth/?ref=bookmarks

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Taylor County Public Health Agency

There is a national shortage of commercially-produced PPE including face masks, and public and private officials are working to address national and global supply challenges. Due to the current limitations on supplies of face masks, there may come a time during this response when commercially manufactured masks are no longer readily available.

Please see below for guidance from Iowa Dept of Public Health on how to construct homemade cloth masks if you would like to support healthcare providers in our area (and beyond).  

Please contact your local hospital, medical clinics, or long-term care facility prior to making a donation. The facility will provide information on where to drop off donations outside of the facility.

Iowa Concern Hotline

Iowa Concern Hotline