Taylor County Public Health Agency




We saw another week of lower positive cases and positivity in both counties.  This has been a welcomed sign after several weeks of high case counts due to the Omicron variant. 

Some other big news is additional vaccination opportunities that will be available soon.  Meetings are planned for the FDA to review Pfizer’s request for emergency use authorization for those ages 6 mo. – 4 year old.  If approved, administration of the vaccine could begin later this month.  We strongly encourage you coordinate with your Pediatrician or family practice provider to discuss the vaccine needs of your child.  They are a great source of information for any questions you may have.

Novavax is another entity that has submitted data to the FDA to satisfy the requirements for seeking emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine.  This would provide another option for those seeking vaccination.

Last week we reported the end of Iowa’s emergency proclamation.  With this, data reporting and availability with be limited and we will no longer be providing weekly reports.  You can still access data on transmission and vaccination using the CDC COVID Data Tracker found here:  https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home

Many have asked if the conclusion of the emergency proclamation signals the end to the pandemic.  Instead, this means that state resources will no longer be readily accessible or available on request from local entities. It doesn’t mean that CDC guidance or IDPH recommendation are no longer pertinent.  For right now the federal public health emergency declaration is still in place. 

So, what will signal the end to the pandemic?  This can happen 3 different ways. The first possible ending would be for the virus to fizzle out or fade away. The SARS pandemic of 2002-2004 came to an end through strong isolation and quarantine practices and through the virus mutating to a form that is not harmful to humans.  The second possible ending would be through vaccination. Examples of this would be the Polio and Smallpox pandemics that were eradicated through extensive vaccination programs.  Finally, the third ending (what we are currently seeing) is the virus becoming endemic. This means that the virus does not go away, but reaches a steady state of infection, morbidity, and mortality. Examples of this would be influenza after the 1918 outbreak, Malaria, and Tuberculosis. All these diseases are predictable in the individuals that are infected, the areas where they exist, and the outcome of the disease. Endemic does not mean that the disease has become harmless, it means that the disease does not create a public health crisis to treat. It also means that society has likely accepted the level of morbidity and mortality that the disease creates.

It feels that although we are not done with COVID, we are adjusting and envisioning what “life with COVID” means. It will mean ups and downs, for sure, but it also means forward. It takes energy to move forward. It takes collective energy to move forward.

Remember that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only converted.



Case counts were elevated again this week but we continue to see a downward trend overall.  As testing availability continues to expand and more at-home rapid tests become available, please remember the report of positive cases is skewed as more positive cases exist.

On Monday, January 31st full the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine received full approval from the FDA!  You may now see the vaccine labeled as SpikeVax.  The formula is the same as the EUA authorized Moderna vaccine that has been administered.  More information on this approval can be found here: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-takes-key-action-approving-second-covid-19-vaccine?utm_campaign=&utm_content=1643646701&utm_medium=FDA,U.S.+Food+and+Drug+Administration&utm_source=facebook,linkedin&fbclid=IwAR38tU3C8lxTJU7VI1tO859RnSm2veUZ_a4KqW9tw4Mt1vrEfDyQnYBB67I

As of February 16, the Governor’s Public Health Disaster Emergency Proclamation will be ending. As a result, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is adjusting the data reporting for COVID-19 and we will be adjusting our weekly reports as well.

Negative COVID tests will no longer be reportable to IDPH. The % positivity is calculated by dividing the number of positive cases by the number of total tests done. If the negatives aren’t reported, we can’t calculate this percentage. Additionally, hospitalization data will no longer be available.

With home test use becoming even more prevalent, the usefulness of reported case numbers will continue to decrease.

We will continue to distribute our normal weekly report through next week which should, hopefully, be near the end of our Omicron outbreak.

We all understand that COVID is not gone. New variants and occasional outbreaks are likely. And we will certainly change our data reporting when necessary and when we have accurate data available to us. But as Iowa moves towards COVID reporting standards that line up with other respiratory viruses, less data will be available to us and it’s time for us to change as well.

Access to testing and vaccine remain unchanged.  The take home saliva tests are still available through public health and local pharmacies.  We will also continue to supply vaccine to clinics and pharmacies in Taylor and Adams Counties. 

Our office continues to field questions, work to get people vaccinated and ease the strain on our local healthcare systems.  It was just a short time ago when our hospitals were at or near peak levels.  We ALL want the pandemic to end.  However, we’re not there yet - we still need to take precautions.  For the last 2 years public health and healthcare teams at all levels and across the state have been working diligently throughout the pandemic to educate, prevent spread and treat Iowans.  And we will continue to do so!



Cases were again on the rise locally over the last week. The Omicron variant has accounted for approximately 90% of all cases reported. .  As I stated last week, the actual case counts are likely to be much higher than what is included below due to the use of over-the-counter rapid testing and limited testing supplies at area healthcare clinics. 

A bit of good news – in the Midwest, we are starting to see case counts plateau.  The hope is that our region has seen the peak of case counts and these numbers will start to come down.  However, the peak of hospitalizations and deaths usually trail behind where we will still see strain within healthcare facilities and additional deaths.  When looking at statistics, the Delta surge that we experienced last winter has been dwarfed by the Omicron surge with 3x the number of positive cases.   

Many times we hear, “When will this be over?”  To be honest, I’ve said it myself numerous times as well.   Regarding the current wave of COVID-19 we are experiencing; it will be brief.  Omicron has proven to be intense but much shorter lived at 4-6 weeks; compared to the Delta wave which lasted 2-3 months.  Another positive sign is that Coronaviruses appear to have a seasonal pattern.  With the 2 years of data that has been gathered, the Midwest may see a decrease of cases in the summer months.  Finally, studies are showing that antibodies from Omicron work against other variants.   So, the combination of previous infections (large portion of the population with recent infection) plus vaccine coverage may bring the end of the first phase of the pandemic.  Meaning, going from societal interruption to more endemic infection.  In other words, mimicking how the flu works. The flu is always around, and certainly dangerous in certain situations, but does not cause societal interruptions. 

This is all theory after reviewing different data sets, but welcomed positive signs. Again, we are hopeful but covid could prove us wrong again.  We do expect new variants to appear that may or may not escape protection from vaccine coverage or immunity from previous infections.

As a reminder, public health has a healthy supply of the free at-home saliva PCR tests.  These are sent in to the State Hygienic Lab after collection and results emailed within 36-48 hours.  Urgent Care and medical clinics have a very limited testing supplies.  The at-home tests can be used for anyone that is symptomatic, previously exposed, household member of positive case, etc.  If you need testing for return to work requirements or to confirm proof of rapid test, we encourage use of these tests due to low supplies at area clinics. These tests can be picked up at the Wellness Center in Corning, Courthouse basement in Bedford, Bedford Drug or NuCara Pharmacy in Lenox. 



Due to the presence of the Omicron variant, our case numbers are considerably higher this week.  We also know that several individuals are using overt-the-counter rapid tests that are not reported in these numbers.  It is likely the number of positive cases and positivity rates are much higher than what is included in the chart below. 

Statewide statistics were released yesterday (Wednesday, 1/19/21) and include a record number of 991 COVID-19 patients currently in the hospital.  There are 182 patients currently in the ICU and 166 patients admitted in the previous 24 hours.  Hospitalizations are still largely driven by unvaccinated cases with 72% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

We knew the surge of Omicron was coming but to see the situation unfold in our communities in real-time is overwhelming.  The high number of cases in a short amount of time is something we’ve never seen before.  Omicron is incredibly contagious and spreading through groups of people quickly. 

Knowing the current landscape of infections in our communities, please take necessary considerations when hosting or attending extracurricular activities or gatherings of people.   

Our healthcare providers are tirelessly caring for others every day; please consider similar compassion when around others.



Unfortunately, cases are up all across the state and country and we’re no exception. We’ve navigated this before and we’ll do it again.  Unfortunately, due to the existence of the Omicron variant we will see many more cases due to it’s contagious nature.

Moving forward we need to think of how do we reduce the impact of viral diseases.  COVID-19 is just like influenza.  It’s a virus where we have learned that the elimination of either virus is probably not a possibility.  They are both viruses that change over time so vaccine will be ever changing.  The influenza vaccine is a vaccine that is reviewed each year and updated as needed based on the most prevalent strains.  The COVID-19 vaccine has not significantly changed since it was first released but we have seen a change in the recommendations for the number of doses and the intervals for the administration of those doses. This will continue as we learn more about the virus. 

Individuals will continue to make decisions for themselves and how they will navigate this landscape that exists. This seems to be creating extreme divides within communities and organizations which creates other challenges. 

TCPH will continue to provide information and education about actions that individuals can take to limit the impact of this virus on themselves, their families, businesses and our community.  Healthcare and Public Health are just as tired and exhausted as everyone else but we have a commitment to continue to work to minimize the impact.  As a group we will work together to promote the following:

  • Vaccines still work really really well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death.  Even if they are less effective against infection and transmission.  Vaccines are available for free from many healthcare providers and pharmacies in our communities for all individuals 5 years of age and older.
  • Stay home when you are sick or not feeling well.  This will help reduce the existence of all transmissible diseases/viruses in our community.
  • Consider wearing a mask when you are at indoor events, especially when it is a crowd you are not normally with.  For years we have educated about coughing or sneezing into our elbow to prevent the spread of colds and influenza.  This is just a different version.
  • Wash your hand frequently.  This is something that has not changed over the course of time but has proven to be effective in the spread of most all diseases and viruses. 
  • If you do begin to feel sick, get tested.  Public health has an ample supply of free COVID-19 tests at our office in the Bedford Courthouse and the Corning Wellness Center.  These free tests are also available at Bedford Drug and NuCara Pharmacy in Lenox.

These are all preventable actions you can take on an individual basis.  None of us like to be sick.  This is why it is important that we all make decisions that will reduce the impact now.  We’ve made some great strides over the course of the last 2 years in understanding what we are facing.  But we’ve also been challenged by the changes we have experienced.

Please consider vaccination as a way to protect yourself from severe illness.  This will also help our doctors and nurses in nearby hospitals as they are pushed to the brink and make decisions to enact crisis standards of care.  They need your help as Omicron is proving to be the most transmissible strain of COVID-19 yet.   Omicron is also offering more challenges as supplies of treatments that are most effective against it are incredibly limited.  For example, Nebraska Med in Omaha recently shared that there is only one kind of monoclonal antibody treatment that is proving to be effective against the variant.  Right now, there is only enough of this treatment for 5 patients per day at their facility even though they have 75-100 patients who meet the guidelines to receive the drug each day.  Vaccines continue to be the best tool we have to fight severe hospitalized illness.  A vaccination along with a booster are extraordinary effective.  If you have held off on vaccination, now is the time to consider to protect yourself and your loved ones.



The Iowa Department of Public Health shared state COVID data yesterday (1/5/21) that showed there were 161 new deaths confirmed within the last 7 days.  Currently, there are 792 COVID-19 patients in the hospital in Iowa.   Of those, 161 are in the ICU.  Of the COVID-19 patients in the ICU, 82% are not fully vaccinated.

This week the CDC expanded the boost shot eligibility for those 12 to 15 years old.    The CDC also recommends that adolescents 12 to 17 years of age should receive a booster shot 5 months after their initial Pfizer vaccination series.   This decision is based on data that shows COVID-19 boosters help broaden and strengthen protection against Omicron and other variants.  At this time only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for adolescents aged 12 -17.

As a reminder, there are free testing options available in Corning, Lenox and Bedford.  PCR saliva tests are available at Bedford Drug, NuCara Pharmacy, Corning Wellness Center, and the Bedford Public Health Office (Courthouse basement). Local urgent care clinics are overwhelmed with people requesting testing.  If you are symptomatic and seek testing, please use these free options to limit the strain on our local clinics.  Results are emailed to you in 24-36 hours from the test is sent in.



CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to 5 days, if asymptomatic, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others.  The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.  Therefore, people who test positive should isolate for 5 days and, if asymptomatic at that time, they may leave isolation if they can continue to mask for 5 days to minimize the risk of infecting others.

CDC is also updating the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to COVID-19:

  • For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days.
  • Alternatively, if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.
  • Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure. 
  • For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure.
  • If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.

Information on these changes can be found here: CDC Updates and Shortens Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Period for General Population | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC

These updates are not intended to apply to healthcare settings.  CDC’s recommendations for healthcare personnel remain what are posted in the following guidance document, which was updated on December 23, 2021.  An infographic is included on these pages that summarizes the key recommendations for work restriction for healthcare personnel with COVID-19 infection or with exposure to someone with COVID-19 infection.

Interim Guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 | CDC

Additionally, CDC has indicated that they will be updating all of their guidance, such as their congregate living and K-12 guidance, to reflect the updated isolation and quarantine guidance for the community. Once released, will communicate it in our weekly COVID-19 update.

There has been significant discussion about vaccine mandates and who might be required to receive Covid-19 vaccinations due to these mandates and if exemptions will be granted. We want to make it perfectly clear that the role of healthcare providers such as local public health agencies, pharmacies and medical practices is to provide information about the Covid-19 virus and to provide information and treatment options such as vaccinations, monoclonal antibody infusions, and any FDA approved oral antiviral medications. We do not make or enforce any of the vaccine related regulations that are required by any employer or government agency. We offer this information and these treatments to those that request them. The scope of practice does not include forcing compliance with employer or governmental mandates. It has been and continues to be a personal decision as to how each person decides to react to any such mandates.



The infection rates this week continue to remain high and positivity still hovers between 10 and 20%.  Sadly, in the last week 5 individuals from Taylor and Adams counties passed away from COVID-19 as the underlying cause or contributing factor of death.  COVID is still very real and impacts our communities in many ways.  Two individuals were middle age and three were older adults.  Our thoughts go out to each of these families as they deal with the loss of a loved one. 

According to the most recent data provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health (12/17/21), 130 deaths were confirmed in Iowa within the last 7 days.  We still see record numbers of individuals admitted to the hospital.  Currently there are 810 COVID-19 patients in the hospital.  Of those, 172 are in the ICU.  In the last 24 hours, 118 COVID-19 patients were admitted to the hospital.  Of the COVID-19 patients in the ICU, 86% are not fully vaccinated.

As we approach the Christmas and New Year holidays, many families are finalizing plans for family gatherings.  We’ve had individuals ask about the intersection between COVID-19 infection rates and the holiday season.  It can be difficult to navigate this when gathering with individuals that may be sick and others that are high risk.  Concurrently, mental illness is also on the rise as people struggle with stress, anxiety and depression.  The great news is we have some very effective tools to balance quality of life and a raging pandemic – vaccines, masks, hygiene and testing.    The benefit to mental health of seeing family during this time is one to consider.  Luckily, we can use all of tools we have to enjoy the holiday season with our loved ones.

When the entire group is vaccinated, gathering is relatively safe.  However, unvaccinated or those partially vaccinated should be more cautious and take measures such as masking and/or testing in advance of celebrations.  Testing is a great way to reduce the risk for everyone gathering.  Rapid antigen tests are preferred as they can be done the same day as the celebration.  These tests can be purchased at retailers such as Walmart or Walgreens.  We also have free tests at public health however results are not available for up to 36 hours.   If using one of these tests, it important to stay isolated once the test is completed to ensure there has been no additional exposure.

For those traveling for the holidays, planes are thought to be very safe as they have excellent ventilation.  In the air terminal, sit apart from people and keep your mask on during the flight.  Traveling by car with your household is pretty safe.  If you get out to use the restroom or get coffee, wear a mask and wash your hands. 

There is no ‘no risk’ plans as everything we do has risk, especially with Omicron on the horizon.  Everyone has a different risk tolerance and it may be very different from those you are gather with.  We can live with COVID-19, we just have to do it smartly for our protection and the protection of others.



As we see a slow decline in cases locally, we can’t ignore the record-breaking hospitalization rates being seen throughout the state.  From the most recent data released this morning from the Iowa Department of Public Health we see 806 patients hospitalized with the virus.  Of these, 74.7 % are unvaccinated and 81.6% of those listed in intensive care with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.  

Local hospitals are facing difficulties when they need to transfer a patient to a higher level of care (city hospitals) and there is no availability.   This forces local hospitals to care for sicker patients for longer periods of time without some of the necessary resources that can only be found at high level hospitals.

Another concern locally is the independent use of ivermectin.  One of the FDA’s jobs is to carefully evaluate the scientific data on a drug to be sure that it is both safe and effective for a particular use. In some instances, it can be highly dangerous to use a medicine for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 that has not been approved by or has not received emergency use authorization from the FDA.  There is continued interest in ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in humans. Certain animal formulations of ivermectin such as pour-on, injectable, paste, and "drench," are approved in the U.S. to treat or prevent parasites in animals. For humans, ivermectin tablets are approved at very specific doses to treat some parasitic worms, and there are topical formulations for head lice and skin conditions like rosacea. 

Veterinary formulations intended for use in large animals such as horses, sheep, and cattle can be highly concentrated and result in overdoses when used by humans. Animal products may also contain inactive ingredients that have not been evaluated for use in humans. People who take inappropriately high doses of ivermectin above FDA-recommended dosing may experience toxic effects.  Adverse effects associated with ivermectin misuse and overdose are increasing as we see continued high volume calls to poison control centers and local hospital admissions.

Yesterday we heard that the new variant, Omicron, was detected in Iowa.  News of the new variant broke about a week ago and we are now starting to see some lab data to help us learn more and plan for the future.  This variant is using the same door into our cells as before. This is good news as it means our tools, like vaccines, are still useful.  However, the virus is using a smarter key to that door.  People with a 2-dose Pfizer series saw a hit to neutralizing antibodies.  There was a 40-fold reduction with Omicron compared to the original virus.  This is higher than we’ve seen with previous variants – Delta was a 5-fold decrease.   This means we may see an increase in breakthrough cases.  Information on hospitalization rates are still coming in.  In South Africa where the variant was first detected, it shows an acceleration of patients in the ICU and on ventilators faster than the previous Delta wave.  Omicron will hit each area differently depending on a variety of factors.  There is reason to hope that with the increase in boosters we will be well protected and see less severity with an increase of cases.  Again, we’re still learning more every day and information will change each week.   

We’re all exhausted. The healthcare workers. The parents. The pharmacists. The scientists.  The teachers. Everyone.  But the virus isn’t.  And it won’t be until we all take it seriously. Do what you can to protect yourself AND those around you.

Don’t forget, we will be at the Red Barn on the Taylor Co. Fairgrounds in Bedford tomorrow, Saturday Dec. 11th, from 9am-1pm providing vaccinations.  Open to those age 5 and up.  No appointment needed!CHI Health is also offering a community vaccination clinic tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 11th, from 8am-noon at the CHI Clinic in Corning. Also open to those age 5 & up.  Appointments are encouraged but not necessary.  641-322-5245

Don’t wait, vaccinate!



Cases in our area are slowly starting to trend downward however cases are on the rise state-wide.  From the most recent data released on Friday from the Iowa Department of Public Health we see over 747 patients hospitalized with the virus which is the highest total reported in 2021.  Of these, 73.3 % are unvaccinated and 83.3% of those listed in intensive care with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.   How can you prevent severe illness and hospitalization if you were infected with COVID-19?  The best defense is vaccination!  The vaccines continue to show their strength in preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death.  Luckily, we have a clinic coming up next Saturday, December 11th from 9am-1pm at the Red Barn on the Taylor County Fairgrounds.  If vaccinated by December 11th, you will benefit from the vaccine’s protection by Christmas!

Did you know that within our public health office is a home care program?  During the month of November we celebrated our home care program and staff.  Providing care in the home has been a pillar of Taylor County Public Health since the early 1970’s.  Our staff includes amazing registered nurses and certified aides that play a critical role in our program.   Our staff travels all over Taylor and Adams Counties helping many clients in their home with varying levels of need.  Winter months are sometimes harder on those that live at home with diverse medical conditions however, we offer many different services to help meet their needs.  Nurses are able to help with wound care after surgery, fill medications, and offer education regarding illnesses.  Aids can assist with bathing and dressing as well as perform daily household activities such as laundry, cleaning, vacuuming, errands, meal prep and more.  We also offer in-home physical, occupational and speech therapy.    We accept a variety of insurance options and provide a sliding fee scale with grant funds for low income households.   Feel free to call our office and talk to our staff to learn more about home health and how we can help you or your loved one.



We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday and found time to relax. 

Case rates and positivity are still elevated in both counties.  However, we’ve had several calls from those looking to start their vaccination series and those looking for a boost shot.    For these reasons we have scheduled another community vaccination clinic.  We will be partnering with Bedford Drug to offer vaccination to anyone that is eligible.  

The clinic will be on Saturday, December 11th from 9am to 1pm at the Red Barn/Taylor Co. Fairgrounds in Bedford. 

Anyone age 5 and older is eligible for vaccination.  We will have all Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Pediatric Pfizer and regular Pfizer available.  Walk-ins welcome, no appointment needed. 

This will be the last clinic public health will offer until after the first of the year.  As always, we have many vaccine partners in both counties that will continue to offer vaccination with an appointment. 



It was another brutal week where we saw an increase in COVID-19 infections, especially in Taylor County.   In the last few weeks we’ve seen 14-day positive test rolling totals similar to what we had last fall.   There is no one way to avoid COVID-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic we have used multiple strategies.  One of those strategies is staying home when you are sick.  To take this a little further, it is best practice and highly recommended for household contacts of a positive case to stay home as well.  The Delta variant that has accounted for all of the cases in both counties since August proves to be more contagious than other variants.  We commonly see entire households testing positive shortly after one member becomes ill.    If household members continue to go to work and/or school, before their symptoms start we know that they have unknowingly exposed several people and allowed the virus to spread. 

The positive case should still isolate from all household members.  If this is done, household members can reduce their time at home by testing on day 5 from last contact with positive case.  If negative, members can return to work/school on day 7.  It’s important for them to still monitor for symptoms through the remainder of the incubation period (day 14).  This only works if the positive case stays isolated and does not have contact with others.   If contact occurs, members must extend their testing day.

Public Health offices, Bedford Drug and NuCara Pharmacy still offer FREE PCR testing kits.  Results are returned by email in 36-48 hours.

Vaccination is still the best protection we have against serious illness, hospitalization and death.  We are fortunate with many vaccination providers in Taylor and Adams counties!  All providers are able to provide initial and boost vaccinations.  Vaccine for children ages 5-11 will be available at all vaccine providers starting next week.  Please take time to call and make an appointment! 

Providers include: Bedford Drug, NuCara Pharmacy in Lenox, HyVee Pharmacy in Corning, CHI Clinics (Corning, Bedford, Lenox) and Greater Regional clinic in Corning.

Public Health will hold 2 community clinics to provide initial and boost vaccinations:

Corning – Saturday, Nov. 13, Corning Community Center, 9am-1pm (Pediatric Pfizer will NOT be available at this clinic)

Bedford – Saturday, Nov. 20, Bedford UCPC Church, 9am-1pm (Pediatric Pfizer WILL be available at this clinic)



We saw a jump in cases and positivity last week.  We continue to encourage you to practice safe protocols and be mindful when interacting with others as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday.  Please do your best to protect yourself and those around you by staying home if you are sick and practicing good hygiene by washing your hands.  We are seeing an increase in viral and bacterial infections as well as COVID-19 cases.  November also brings high transmission of norovirus, which is commonly called the “stomach flu” due to its main symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting.  Norovirus is not caused by the seasonal flu virus as many people believe and is commonly transmitted by hand to mouth contact. 

This last week we had big news related to vaccination for kids.   The FDA, ACIP and CDC all agreed and recommend the Pediatric Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine series for everyone 5 years and older, under Emergency Use Authorization.  We received our supply of this vaccine today and will work with vaccine providers throughout each county to vaccinate this population.  Please be patient as we work to get supply to each vaccination provider.  If you are interested in vaccination for your child, we encourage you to speak with your healthcare provider, pediatrician and/or pharmacy to schedule an appointment.

We will be holding COVID-19 Vaccination clinics this week and next:

  • Saturday, November 13, Corning Community Center (next to City Hall), 9am – 1pm
  • Saturday, November 20, United Christian Presbyterian Church, Bedford, 9am-1pm

We will be offering initial and boost COVID-19 vaccinations with Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccine.   We will also have the pediatric Pfizer vaccine available at the clinic on November 20th

No appointments needed!

Public Health continues to offer free COVID-19 test kits to all residents.  The kit is a self-administered saliva PCR test and results are available in 36-48 hours.  Tests kits can be picked up at either public health office and at Bedford Drug and NuCara Pharmacy in Lenox. 


As we continue to experience new cases, our office will contact positive cases that are reported to us.  Cases are reported to public health from the Iowa Department of Public Health.  It can take from 48 hours to 5 days for cases to be reported to our office depending on the lab reporting to IDPH.   Currently, we see several exposures in the workplace, at community events or within households. 

If you find yourself exposed to someone that tested positive for COVID-19 during their infectious period, public health best practice would be for any exposed individual to isolate from others and monitor for symptoms.  The goal of this is to limit the spread to others and protect the most vulnerable.

In more detail, an unvaccinated person that has an exposure and is not experiencing symptoms; is advised to stay home and monitor for symptoms to help further reduce the risk of spreading the virus.  Individuals exposed to COVID-19 may develop symptoms 2-14 days after exposure (incubation period).  However exposed individuals can reduce the length of time they stay home with the following options:

  • Stay home through day 10 after exposure (the day of exposure would be day 0)
  • Stay home through day 7 if the exposure person tests negative and no symptoms have developed.  The specimen must be collected within 48 hours before leaving isolation (i.e. not earlier than day 5)

In all cases, the individual should continue to self-monitor for symptoms and is recommended to wear a mask when around others through day 14 in order to minimize the risk of spread.

Those that are fully vaccinated and are not experiencing COVID-like symptoms do not need to stay home following an exposure. However, fully vaccinated people should still self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days following the exposure.  In addition, vaccinated contacts should get tested 3-5 days after exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms, and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure.  This practice is the same for individuals that have clinically tested positive or have a positive antibody test (both in the last 90 days from the exposure).

Any individual experiencing symptoms following an exposure should isolate from others and be tested and/or clinically evaluated by their healthcare provider. 

Free saliva self-administered tests are still available at the public health office in Corning and Bedford, Bedford Drug and NuCara Pharmacy in Lenox.  Results are available within 36-48 hours.



In an effort to strengthen protection for people most likely to have severe COVID illness, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has approved the use of booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.  Pfizer booster doses were approved for use last month.  The latest recommendations makes boosters possible for all three vaccines authorized in the USA. 


  • It must be at least 6 months since a person completed their initial series of Moderna or Pfizer Vaccine
  • The following people should get a booster:
    • People 65 years of age and older
    • Residents of long-term care settings
    • People aged 18 years and older with underlying medical conditions (examples of these include cancer, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, dementia, down syndrome, heart conditions, overweight and obesity)
    • People aged 18 years of age and older who are at an increased risk due to where they work or live (such as institutional settings)
  • Individuals can self-report that they are eligible under these recommendations


·         The booster dose needs to be at least 2 months after your first shot of Johnson & Johnson vaccine

·         For individuals 18 years and older


  • It must be at least 6 months since a person completed their initial series of Moderna or Pfizer Vaccine
  • The following people should get a booster:
    • People 65 years of age and older
    • Residents of long-term care settings
    • People aged 18 years and older with underlying medical conditions (examples of these include cancer, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, dementia, down syndrome, heart conditions, overweight and obesity)
    • People aged 18 years of age and older who are at an increased risk due to where they work or live (such as institutional settings)
  • Individuals can self-report that they are eligible under these recommendations

Mix and Match Use
Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the Emergency Use Authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines to allow for the use of each of the available COVID-19 vaccines as a heterologous (or “mix and match”) booster dose in eligible individuals following completion of primary vaccination with a different available COVID-19 vaccine. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots. Mix and match dosing may be considered for the booster dose only.

These boosters can begin immediately.  Vaccine supply is good and is available throughout Taylor and Adams counties from clinics, pharmacies and public health.
A flow chart is attached to help you determine if you are eligible for a booster.

We encourage you to talk with your health care provider if you have questions on which booster dose is right for you.

Taylor County Health will hold 2 COVID-19 vaccine clinics in November (flyer attached).  These will be for anyone needing their initial or boost dose of any COIVD-19 vaccine.

Saturday, November 13th
Community Center, Corning (next to City Hall)

Saturday, November 20th
UCPC Church, Bedford

If you can’t make these dates, please contact one of our other vaccine providers:

Bedford Drug, Bedford - 712-523-2385
NuCara Pharmacy, Lenox – 641-333-2260
HyVee Pharmacy, Corning – 641-322-3454
CHI Clinic, Bedford – 712-523-2196
CHI Clinic, Lenox – 641-333-2266
CHI Clinic, Corning – 641-322-5245
Greater Regional Clinic, Corning – 641-322-4431

The vaccine is the best tool we have to keep ourselves and our families healthy and to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death from the COVID-19 virus.



Information regarding COVID booster doses was all over the news this morning.  The Moderna and J&J COVID-19 vaccine boosters have not been fully approved for emergency use authorization yet. On October 20th the FDA accepted the recommendations of a third-party advisory committee to authorize, for emergency use, booster doses of the Moderna and the J&J COVID-19 vaccine. This, however, is not the final step. The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) must review the data and make its own decision on the recommendation. Upon accepting the recommendation, the Director of the CDC will make their final decision on this recommendation. While we fully expect this decision to be in line with the original recommendation, the Moderna and J&J COVID-19 vaccine boosters have not been approved yet.

The FDA also approved, and ACIP is discussing, receiving a different booster vaccine from your original series of vaccine. 

We are closely monitoring these decisions.  As soon as the CDC fully accepts these recommendations, we will let you know.

In anticipation of booster dose approval, our public health office is working to plan community booster clinics in November and December.  When information is available, we will communicate with all residents via Facebook, newspaper and through this email group. Vaccine will also be available from various clinics and pharmacies in our counties.

Switching gears from COVID - - October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and tomorrow is WEAR PINK day!  When you pick out your outfit tomorrow, please consider including pink to honor the courageous women and men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and honor those that have lost their battle to this terrible disease. 

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer affecting women; an estimated 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer over the course of their lifetime and approximately 280,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States in 2021. Cancer touches so many families across our counties.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, which provides free breast and cervical cancer screenings to low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women.  To find out more about this program in Iowa please visit the Care for Yourself page through the Iowa Department of Public Health: https://idph.iowa.gov/cfy

Early detection is one of the most important strategies for treating breast cancer successfully and regular screenings are the most reliable way to detect it early.  TCPH encouraged everyone to maintain their scheduled screenings, doctor appointments and treatments!


We’ve had another busy week with additional COVID-19 cases and news of booster doses.  Many of the calls this week have been individuals asking if they qualify for a booster dose.

This can get confusing and we are happy to help answer your questions!

For starters, there are booster doses and also third doses.  Each has a purpose and a specific group of people that are eligible.


Individuals that are moderately to  severely immunocompromised are eligible for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  The third dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) is identical to the first two doses.  It can help protect people with weakened immune systems who do not have a strong enough response to the first two doses and are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.  Such people can get a third dose as soon as 28 days after the second dose.  The FDA has authorized, and the CDC recommends, that those with certain medical conditions that suppress the immune system get a third dose of the same brand of COVID-19 vaccine they initially received – Pfizer or Moderna.  This includes people who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.
More information is available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/immuno.html

The COVID booster shot is an additional dose of a vaccine given after the protection provided by the original shot(s) have begun to decrease over time.  Typically, you would get a booster after the immunity from the initial dose(s) naturally starts to wane. The booster is designed to help people maintain their level of immunity for longer.  Currently the CDC has recommended a booster shot of only Pfizer vaccine for certain populations at increased risk for COVID-19 due to age, health status, or exposure risk.  Again, this is only for those individuals who originally received the Pfizer vaccine.  A booster for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine has not been approved.  Pfizer booster shots are available 6 months after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. 
The following individuals SHOULD receive a booster shot:

  • People 65 years of age and older
  • Long term care residents
  • People 50-64 years of age with underlying conditions

The following individuals MAY receive a booster shot:

  • People 18-49 years of age with underlying conditions
  • People 18-64 at increased risk of exposure due to where they work or live

People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an boost dose is appropriate for them.
More information is available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html

If you have not started your COVID-19 vaccine series, please consider it!  All COVID-19 vaccines currently approved or authorized in the United States remain effective against severe disease, hospitalization and death.  This is extremely important as we see our hospital systems at max capacity and minimal bed availability.  Beds are full of COVID-19 patients and those with other illness.  As hospitals fill up in urban areas, patients will be transferred to our rural areas and filling local hospitals.  Currently, those not fully vaccinated account for 87.2% of all COVID-19 patients in the ICU across Iowa.   The vaccine is highly effective at reducing hospitalization!  Our hospital system can not sustain added stress for a long period of time.

We have a tool in our arsenal that in now available to help reduce our risk and ease the strain on our hospital systems.  Please consider it!

Here is a video that looks inside a central Iowa hospital as they continue to fight against COVID-19.  This helps illustrate the pressure that COVID patients are taking on our healthcare providers and others needing life-saving care.  https://www.facebook.com/PolkCountyIA/videos/288397206180902



If sick with COVID-19, Monoclonal Antibody Therapy may be an option for you.  This type of therapy provides a way to help prevent severe symptoms from developing in those who are high risk with the goal of helping prevent hospitalizations, reduce viral loads and lessen symptom severity.     

This type of therapy relies on monoclonal antibodies. These are antibodies that are similar to the ones your body would naturally make in response to infection. However, monoclonal antibodies are mass-produced in a laboratory and are designed to recognize a specific component of this virus — the spike protein on its outer shell.  By targeting the spike protein, these specific antibodies interfere with the virus' ability to attach and gain entry into human cells. They give the immune system a leg up until it can mount its own response.

For monoclonal antibody therapy to be most effective, it needs to be taken as early in the disease course as possible.  So, the sooner the better – even if you’re not feeling that bad yet.  In high-risk patients, receiving treatment earlier, when symptoms are less severe, may help prevent progression of the disease that would otherwise require hospitalization.

Monoclonal antibodies are given through an intravenous (IV) infusion. 

This therapy can be extremely effective, but it's not a replacement for vaccination.  Vaccination is still our best protection for all individuals and our communities.  We highly encourage everyone to get vaccinated.



As more cases continue to be seen in our communities, we see a rise in phone calls regarding isolation,  returning to work and if household contacts can go to school/work.  We thought it would be good to review what the current recommendations are for persons sick with COVID-19 and those that have had an exposure.

Persons sick with COVID-19 are considered infections 48 hours prior to symptom onset and for an additional 10 days after symptoms start.  It is important for individuals that have tested positive for COVID-19 or suspect they may have COVID-19 remain isolated to stop the spread.  Current guidance instruct these individuals to isolate and not return to normal activities until the following items are met:

  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared AND,
  • Fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing meds AND,
  • Symptoms are improving

It’s important for everyone experiencing an illness to stay home while they are ill, even if they test negative for COVID-19 or receive an alternative diagnosis.

When we look at those that have been exposed to a positive case as a close contact or a household member, we provide the following recommendations to help reduce the risk of spread to other people, especially vulnerable populations!

·         Unvaccinated, asymptomatic contacts are advised to stay home to monitor for symptoms

To help further reduce risk of spreading the virus, unvaccinated persons who are exposed but remain healthy (no symptoms) can be advised to stay home to monitor for symptoms.

Individuals exposed to COVID-19 may develop symptoms from 2-14 days after exposure.

However, exposed individuals can reduce the length of time they are recommended to stay home from 14 days via the following options:

·         Stay home through Day 10 if no symptoms have developed.

·         Stay home through Day 7 if the exposed person tests negative and no symptoms have developed. The specimen must be collected within 48 hours before leaving the home (i.e. not earlier than Day 5).

In all cases, the individual should continue to monitor for symptoms and are recommended to wear a mask when around others through Day 14 in order to minimize risk of spread.


·         Vaccinated contacts do not need to stay home, but should monitor for symptoms and get tested

Fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to stay home following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. However, fully vaccinated people should still self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure. 

Fully vaccinated people who experience COVID-19 symptoms should stay home, be clinically evaluated, and be tested for COVID-19 infection if clinically indicated.

·         Contacts who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months do not need to stay home, but should monitor for symptoms

Persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months do not need to stay home or be tested following an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, as long as they do not develop new symptoms. However, they should still self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure.

People who develop COVID-19 symptoms within 3 months of their first COVID-19 infection should stay home, be clinically evaluated, and be tested for COVID-19 infection if clinically indicated.

·         Unvaccinated contacts who have tested antibody positive within 3 months before or immediately following an exposure are generally not advised to stay home, but should monitor for symptoms

Unvaccinated persons who have tested antibody positive (IgG, IgM, or Total Antibody) within 3 months before or immediately following an exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19 and who have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure do not need to stay home in low risk situations. High risk situations include settings where contact with persons at high risk of COVID-19 severe illness, including older adults and persons with certain medical conditions, is not anticipated for at least 10 days following exposure.

Contacts should still monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 during the 14 days after exposure and if symptoms develop they should stay home and seek testing.

We are not dealing with the same virus as we did last year at this time.  The current variant is more contagious!  Please consider the environment where you live, work and play to assess the risks if you were to become sick with COVID or any other illness.  Take appropriate precautions while keeping those around you in mind. 



The lines are trending upward for active COVID-19 infections in our communities as well as in surrounding areas.  Reasons for this – 1) the delta variant community transmission is high and spreads easily which can cause 2x as many infections, 2) larger groups of people are gathering indoors using minimal mitigation, 3) students of all ages returning to classrooms. 

All of the same tools still work to drive COVID away.  Stay home for school or work if you are sick and get tested if you have COVID symptoms, get vaccinated and help others do the same, choose leisure and recreation activities wisely (smaller groups are better), use a high-quality masks indoors and in situations where you cannot maintain your distance.

Right now people that are moderately to severely immunocompromised are encouraged to get a 3rd dose of Pfizer or Moderna.  If this describes you, please reach out to your local pharmacy or clinic to get your 3rd dose now. Booster shots have also been discussed for everyone else.  The CDC recently said boosters may be needed 8 months after getting the original doses of Pfizer or Moderna.  However, FDA and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) are reviewing evidence and have not issued final recommendations yet.  We will notify the public about booster doses as more information becomes available.

Today, the Governor made an announcement regarding changes to COVID-19 data reporting from the State of Iowa that will start on 9/3/21.  Data will be shared more frequently on social media pages on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  However, updates to www.coronavirus.iowa.gov will continue to be updated weekly with a few minor changes that include a homepage dashboard and the combination of the hospitalization and RMCC pages.  TCPH will continue to send weekly updates like this on Thursdays.  These updates will include information that is reported to us during the reporting period.  Please be mindful that we only account for tests that are reported to Iowa Dept. of Public Health.  As more testing methods hit the market, it’s important to know not all are reported to IDPH.  Clinics, Hospitals and most labs are required to report all COVID-19 tests (positive and negative) to IDPH within 24 hours of testing. If you use a test from a retail store with an immediate result, please reach out to our office with test results.  

Positive test samples that are sent to the Iowa State Hygienic lab are automatically sequenced for variant type.  Variant sequencing may not be done at all independent labs.   Sequencing improves our understanding of the variants that are circulating in Iowa, how quickly variants emerge and which variants are the most important to monitor for the health of residents.




We continue to see rising case numbers in our communities.   Over the past week, 100% of the variant sequencing completed at the State Hygienic Lab has been for the Delta variant - we will most likely continue to see this trend.  Since we know that the Delta variant is more contagious, the trend of new cases will also continue.   Public Health colleagues continue to share stories of increased hospitalization and lack of bed availability in Iowa; with the same story in Missouri.  We understand that COVID cases will continue to be reported but we want to limit death and the strain on our healthcare system.   Earlier this week the Iowa Department of Public Health issued a press release that said the majority of current COVID-19 hospitalizations are among unvaccinated Iowans. On August 25, 79% of individuals hospitalized with a primary COVID-19 diagnosis were not vaccinated and 86% of patients in the ICU were not vaccinated before becoming infected. The hospitalization rate is currently highest among middle age to older adults. 87% of those hospitalized are age 40 and older. Children under the age of 18 account for just 2% of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

One of the best tools we have to keep ourselves and loved ones safe is the vaccine.  Preventing avoidable COVID-19 hospitalizations also helps preserve health care resources for other needs, including illnesses, injuries and emergencies. Some Iowa hospitals have recently reported an increase in hospitalizations among children with RSV, limiting their bed capacity for other patients.   

Hospitals in Adams, Audubon, Cass, Crawford, Fremont, Harrison, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie and Shelby counties report their statistics on a daily basis that are then combined into regional and state-wide reporting at: https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/pages/rmcc-data


Recently, Test Iowa COVID-19 testing sites across the state closed.  Taylor County Public Health will be providing free take home COVID-19 self-administered test kits for the community.

Each test kit includes step-by-step instructions including how to activate the test kit, collect the test sample, return sample to State Hygienic Lab and when to expect results.    Results will be sent via email about 24 hours from when the sample is received by State Hygienic Lab.

These kits will be saliva sample PCR tests and are authorized by the FDA under an emergency use authorization.

Test kits are available in our Bedford and Corning office.  To request a test kit, please call our office at 712-523-3405 or 641-322-6283 to arrange pick-up.

These test kits can be used if you are symptomatic with COVID-19 symptoms or if testing is required for travel/employment/etc.

For more test kit locations and information on getting a test kit sent to your home, check out the Test Iowa website: https://www.testiowa.com/en/

The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is to get vaccinated! If you have questions, please reach out to your health care provider. 

Locally, vaccine appointments can be made at the following locations:

1. Bedford Drug - Moderna and Pfizer, call for appointment 712-523-2385
2. CHI Clinic - Moderna and J&J, call for appointment 712-523-2196


1. NuCara Pharmacy - Moderna, Pfizer call for appointment 641-333-2260
2. CHI Clinic - Moderna and J&J, call for appointment 641-333-2266

1. HyVee Pharmacy - Moderna, call for appointment 641-322-3454
2. CHI Clinic - Moderna and J&J, call for appointment 641-322-5245
3. (New!) Greater Regional Clinic – call for appointment 641-322-4431



As we transition to COVID-19 pandemic recovery, IDPH is implementing changes to the response and reporting efforts that are similar to the federal government at many other states. On July 1, the state started to further focus COVID-19 case investigation on outbreaks and vulnerable settings like long term cares facilities and end routine COVID-19 case investigation calls for all positive reports. Test Iowa clinics and drive thru sites will cease operations by July 16.

These changes will impact reported data and pages on the coronavirus.iowa.gov website. IDPH also plans to change the frequency of data uploads to the website beginning today, July 7. By late summer, they will transition to reporting on IDPH website and decommission and archive coronavirus.iowa.gov. COVID-19 reporting will transition to a format similar to our flu report. Should it be necessary, they are prepared to reinstate operations to meet the needs of Iowans.

In Taylor and Adams County, we will discontinue calls to positive cases and close contacts however, will stand ready if an outbreak is reported.  We will continue to monitor reports and virus activity and follow-up to investigate clusters when needed.   All clinics testing for COVID-19 are still required to report all positive and negative reports to state/local public health.

Locally, you can still receive your COVID-19 vaccination through one of our community partners:

Bedford Drug - Moderna and Pfizer, call for appointment 712-523-2385
CHI Clinic - Moderna and J&J, call for appointment 712-523-2196


1. NuCara Pharmacy - Moderna, call for appointment 641-333-2260
2. CHI Clinic - Moderna and J&J, call for appointment 641-333-2266

1. HyVee Pharmacy - Moderna, call for appointment 641-322-3454
2. CHI Clinic - Moderna and J&J, call for appointment 641-322-5245

We are still concerned about the Delta variant as it is proving to be easier to transmit from person to person making local and regional outbreaks a greater possibility.  The variant was recently reported in neighboring counties. We still urge everyone to exercise caution in their daily activities to help prevent the spread of this variant.



Getting your COVID-19 vaccination is still very important to getting our communities back on track and keeping COVID away in the future.

We've partnered with local clinics and pharmacies to continue vaccination efforts. Check out the list below to find out where you can go to protect yourself:



1. Bedford Drug - Moderna and Pfizer, call for appointment 712-523-2385

2. CHI Clinic - Moderna and J&J, call for appointment 712-523-2196


Lenox -

1. NuCara Pharmacy - Moderna, call for appointment 641-333-2260

2. CHI Clinic - Moderna and J&J, call for appointment 641-333-2266


Corning -

1. HyVee Pharmacy - Moderna, call for appointment 641-322-3454

2. CHI Clinic - Moderna and J&J, call for appointment 641-322-5245


Moderna and J&J is available for those over age 18

Pfizer is available for those over age 12




On Friday the CDC and FDA lifted the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine allowing providers to begin administering the vaccine.   The use of the vaccine was paused to review the possible link between the vaccine use and the formation of a rare form of blood clots. These clots were reported in women age 18 to 48 years of age and occurred at a rate of approximately 1 in every 1 million vaccinations. The CDC panel determined that the benefits of being vaccinated with the J & J product outweighed the potential risks associated with the formation of the blood clots. Moving forward, pubic health will be offering the J&J and Moderna vaccines at all our upcoming clinics.  Information on each of the vaccines are provided to each recipient.  Our nurses are a great resource and can help guide you in deciding what vaccine is best for you.

Vaccination rates have slowed and we know there are many people that are undecided about receiving a Covid-19 vaccine. As a community healthcare resource we’ve worked hard to provide the information you need to make a decision based on sound and reputable sources.  All three vaccines licensed in the United States have a high level of safety and effectiveness. These products provide up to 95% effectiveness against Covid-19 infection. Some might ask why to receive the vaccine if there is only a 1 to 2% chance of death from Covid-19. The risk of morbidity or developing long term health conditions are much higher than the 1 to 2% death rate. These conditions have the potential for permanent damage to any individual.  More information on the long-term effects of COVID can be found here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-long-term-effects/art-20490351

Not being vaccinated or delaying vaccination when the vaccine is available does impact other people in that the virus can continue to thrive and mutate. This can prolong the pandemic by allowing the virus to infect those that have not been vaccinated and potentially giving rise to more contagious and deadlier strains of the virus. Mutations of the virus to more contagious and/or more deadly variants of the virus do have the potential to lower the effectiveness of the vaccines that have already been administered. Mutations can also lead to reinfection in those that believed that they possessed immunity through natural Covid-19 infection. The idea of herd immunity is based on reducing the number of people that are at risk of infection. Those that are unvaccinated have a higher risk of infection and unfortunately, this virus can affect the extremely healthy as well as those with health issues.  More information on the concern of variants can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/variant-surveillance/variant-info.html


We’ve seen long lasting sickness and death impact residents in our communities. It has delayed health and wellness activities and consumed an enormous amount of healthcare resources on all levels. Vaccination is one of the most powerful tools we have to overcome COVID-19.  The pandemic isn’t over just because we’re over the pandemic.


The following list provides all of the clinics public health will be providing through the end of May.  No appointments are needed, just walk in!



Wednesday, May 5th, 1 – 6pm

Saturday, May 8th, 9am – 4pm

Wednesday, May 12th 1 – 6pm

Wednesday, May 19th, 1 – 6pm

Wednesday, May 26th, 1 – 6pm



Thursday, May 6th, Noon – 7pm



Friday, April 30th, 9am – 1pm

Friday, May 7th, 9am – 1pm

Friday, May 14th, 9am – 1pm

Friday, May 21st,  9am – 1pm  



We continue to support vaccination for all eligible individuals.  This is one of the best tools we have to return to a sense of normalcy in the near future.  Right now vaccine providers in Taylor and Adams have a plentiful supply of vaccine.  Currently, we are administering the Moderna vaccine.

Public Health will be transitioning to walk-in clinics starting now through the month of May.  Currently we will be available at the following locations on the given day/time:


Saturday, April 24th, 9am – 3pm

Wednesday, May 5th, 1 – 6pm

Saturday, May 8th, 9am – 3pm

Wednesday, May 12th 1 – 6pm

Wednesday, May 19th, 1 – 6pm

Wednesday, May 26th, 1 – 6pm


Wednesday, May 6th, Noon – 7pm


Friday, April 23rd, 9am – 1pm

Friday, April 30th, 9am – 1pm

Friday, May 7th, 9am – 1pm

Friday, May 14th, 9am – 1pm

Friday, May 21st,  9am – 1pm  

 Other vaccine providers in Taylor County are also available for vaccination appointments.  Feel free to reach out to them:

Bedford Drug

Where: 419 Main St., Bedford IA 50833

When: Appointment only during the week

How: Call for appointment

Phone: 712-523-2385


Where: 107 N. Main St. Lenox, IA

When: Appointment only during week

How: Call for appointment

Phone: 641-333-2260

Corning Hy-Vee Pharmacy

Where: 625 Davis Ave., Coring, IA

When: varied appointment times

How: Call for appointment/ Online appointments https://www.hy-vee.com/my-pharmacy/covid-vaccine

Phone: 641-322-3454


Hy-Vee Pharmacies-Call or register online https://www.hy-vee.com/my-pharmacy/covid-vaccine



Please continue to help support our mitigation efforts against Covid-19! Taylor County Public
Health would like your help vaccinating everyone! Please refer family, friends, or anyone at all
to our vaccination clinic. Sign up is easy, showing up is easy and getting vaccinated is easy! Scan
the QR code below with a smart phone to link to our registration and see current openings. You
may also visit us on our Facebook page or website: http://taylorcountyhealth.com/
Thank you for your help, as you are actively contributing to stopping the spread of Covid-19!

Click here for the QR code.



Yesterday the CDC released the first set of recommendations for fully vaccinated people. This guidance will be updated and expanded based on the level of community spread, the proportion of the population that is fully vaccinated, and the rapidly evolving science on COVID-19 vaccines.

For the purposes of this guidance, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna), or ≥2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson).

The following recommendations apply to non-healthcare settings.

Fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic

For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
  • Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
  • Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
  • Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

As a reminder, individuals age 65 & older and individuals age 18-64 with high risk health conditions are eligible for vaccination.  If you are interested in vaccination, call our office to schedule and appointment. 712-523-3405

A list of high risk health conditions can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html



Recently Iowa has updated the Phase 1B priorities. Individuals age 65 and up will now be eligible in 1B.  This aligns Iowa guidelines closer to CDC recommendations. However, vaccine remains in short supply.  This means not everyone in Phase 1B will be able to get the vaccine right away.  To help balance vaccine supply with the Phase 1B demands, IDPH has implemented a tiered prioritization (outlined attached). IDPH remains in close contact with our federal partners to communicate Iowa’s need for additional vaccine. We will continue to put out information to let everyone know when and how our 1B Clinics will proceed. Please be patient. Our Phase 1B population just grew significantly and our allocation did not, so it will still take some time to meet the demand.

In Taylor County, Bedford Drug, NuCara Pharmacy and Taylor County Public Health will be vaccinating individuals in 1B.  In Adams County, Taylor County Public Health, with support form CHI, will be vaccinating those in 1B.  We are all working together to share vaccine and plan vaccination clinics. In addition, we are working with local employers and priority groups that are eligible in 1B (starting with tier 1) to schedule vaccination clinics for staff/members.

All vaccinations will be conducted by appointment only and patients will be contacted to schedule an appointment when a time is available.  At Taylor County Public Health we are keeping a list of those individuals that meet criteria for phase 1B.  We will work off this list as vaccine becomes available.  TCPH will have regular vaccination clinics in Bedford and Corning each week.  Since the vaccine is packaged in 10 dose vials, individuals will be grouped together to ensure there is no waste. If you meet the requirements of 1B, you can call our office to be added to our list.  712-523-3405 (Bedford) or 641-322-6283 (Corning)

Knowing that everyone does not have the opportunity to get online, we are taking information by phone.  Our call volume has increased significantly but we will do our best to answer your call, take your information and help with any questions you may have.  

Again, we ask patience and grace as we work to get more vaccine in our counties and schedule vaccination appointments.

Click here for more information on the Phase 1B requirements....



Many are eager to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and its protective benefits. As COVID-19 vaccine supply increases it will be available to anyone wanting to be vaccinated. As we each wait to be vaccinated, there are several things we can do to prepare.


For individuals wanting to receive vaccine:

1. Follow Taylor County Public Health on Facebook and on our website for updates on vaccine distribution in Taylor and Adams County.

2. Read the FDA Vaccine Factsheet below. These factsheets will help you understand the risks and benefits of receiving this vaccine. Taylor and Adams County clinics will be administering the Moderna vaccine. The Moderna Vaccine Factsheet can be found at Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers (fda.gov)

3. If you are pregnant, immunocompromised, or have had allergic reactions to injections in the past, consult with your doctor. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective but it is always a good idea to talk with your physician before making healthcare decisions.


For employers wanting to vaccinate staff:

1. Survey how many staff want to receive the vaccine.

2. Contact our office or your local pharmacy on vaccine administration at your business.

3. Monitor for phase eligibility of your business and employees. Guidance on phases of vaccine distribution can be found at https://bit.ly/39xUX3O.


Phase 1-B of COVID-19 vaccine distribution is planned to begin no later than February 1st and will continue over the subsequent weeks.  Vaccination efforts in our counties will be determined by vaccine allocation.  We will continue to provide information as it becomes available.



Recently US Health & Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, indicated that anyone over age 65 is eligible for the COVID vaccination.  However, each state is responsible for how vaccine is allocated and disseminated according to population, demand and vaccine supply amounts.  Iowa has taken a phase approach to vaccine allocation.  The Infectious Disease Advisory Council (IDAC) provides recommendations of eligibility requirements for each phase to IDPH for approval.  Currently, we are in Phase 1A vaccinating healthcare workers, long term care and assisted living facilities.

Yesterday IDAC released the approved priority populations for phase 1B.  This information is for planning purposes as we will NOT be moving into phase 1B until the first part of February.

As outlined by the Iowa Infectious Disease Advisory Council, phase 1B of vaccine distribution will include:

  • Persons aged 75 years and older;
  • Individuals with disabilities living in home settings whom are depended on attendant care staff, and their attendant care staff;
  • Correctional facility staff and incarcerated individuals;
  • Staff of, and individuals living in congregate settings (not including college dormitories);
  • Food, agriculture, distribution and manufacturing workers whom work in or live in congregate settings that do not allow for social distancing;
  • PK-12 school staff, early childhood education, and childcare workers;
  • First responders (e.g. firefighters, police officers, and dependent adult abuse and child welfare social workers);
  • Inspectors responsible for health, life, and safety, including those in hospitals and long term care settings, child, and food production safety;
  • State Government officials, including staff engaged in state business at the Iowa Capital during the legislative session.

Find the recommendations in full at https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging.../Novel-Coronavirus/IDAC

IDAC continues to monitor the amount a vaccine that is being received in Iowa and prepares recommendations for the 1C group.  Once they have reasonable confidence that supply meets demands, broader eligibility criteria and distribution will be released.

TCPH is eager to move to the next phase of vaccine distribution at the direction of the Iowa Department of Public Health.  Our vaccine strategy will be consistent with the state of Iowa as described above.

When the 1B group opens, we will be working with approved COVID vaccine providers and pharmacies in our counties that can also provide vaccination.

Once eligible for the vaccine, there are no residency requirements for where to receive it. If you live and work in different counties, you could receive your vaccine in either. The only eligibility criteria will be that associated with the vaccine distribution phase.

As we learn more information and smooth out our vaccination clinic plans, we will communicate with the public through this email group, our Facebook page, website and local new outlets.




Contact: Crystal Drake, Administrator

Second COVID-19 Death Confirmed in Taylor County

The Taylor County Department of Public Health today announced the second death associated with novel
coronavirus (COVID-19) in the county. The individual was elderly and over 80 years of age.
“We wish to extend our sympathy to this individual’s family,” said Taylor County Public Health Director Crystal
Drake. “Taylor County Public Health and all of our key partners throughout the county and state continue to
work to stop the spread and impact of this virus in our communities.”

All residents should:

• Social distance from others by keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not
from your immediate household.
• Wear a mask when social distancing measures are difficult to maintain
• Stay home when even mildly ill
• Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow/upper arm.
• Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the IDPH webpage at https://idph.iowa.gov/EmergingHealth-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus and follow the department on Facebook at @IowaDepartmentOfPublicHealth





Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to use caution and plan ahead for Halloween festivities. It is strongly recommended everyone exercise caution when deciding to participate in trick-or-treating and events that put them in close contact with people outside their households. To lower risk, consider safer and socially distant ways to celebrate.

This guidance is designed to help curb the spread of COVID-19. It may be updated as we learn more in the weeks leading up to Halloween.

Kids and Parents:

  • If you are sick, or you have been in contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19 stay home, and away from others.
  • Wear a face mask covering both your mouth and nose, even under your Halloween mask. (NOTE: Face coverings should never be placed on children younger than 2)
  • Trick or treat with people from your immediate household and maintain a 6-foot distance from all others.
  • Carry hand sanitizer and use it often, especially after coming into contact with frequently touched surfaces and before eating candy.
  • Limit the number of houses you visit and ask your children to stay as far from treat-givers as possible. For small children, consider holding the bag for them.


  • Do not hand out candy if you are sick, or you have been in contact with someone who is sick with COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19
  • Refrain from having children select their own treats from a bowl/common container instead, use a distribution table between yourself and trick or treaters.
  • Allow for social distancing between families
  • Wear a face mask covering both your mouth and nose and wash your hands often.
  • Do not hold large in-person Halloween parties. If holding smaller parties, limit attendance to 10 or fewer people and hold the event in an outdoor area where social distancing is possible. Avoid activities, such as bobbing for apples, that foster the spread of infection.

More information on low, moderate and high risk activities can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween



Contact: Taylor County Public Health

Taylor County Board of Health Position Statement Regarding Large Events and Gatherings
During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Taylor County Board of Health has a responsibility to address the health concerns of Taylor County citizens. Based on known evidence of how COVID-19 spreads among mass gatherings of people, the Board believes that the harmful health impact on our residents attending large events and gatherings could be substantial.

The Taylor County Board of Health recommends the following:

• Large events and mass gatherings in Taylor County are discouraged until the threat of Covid-19 spread has diminished.
• Events where a large portion of attendees travel from outside the local area are also discouraged.
• Large events and mass gatherings with primary attendance being largely from the local area, should adequately provide protective measures to reduce the Covid-19 spread.

The Board of Health and Taylor County Public Health are willing to work with any entity to plan a safe event. Following CDC guidance, the following is a minimum list of protective measures recommended to promote healthy behaviors and prevent spread:

• Encouraging ill persons to stay home;
• Adequate space for social distancing/ modified layouts;
• Hygienic practices recommended by the CDC for large events;
• Encourage face mask use when social distancing is not possible;
• Adequate cleaning and sanitizing of frequently touched surfaces; and
• Increased messages/signage/announcements reminding people to utilize healthy practices to prevent spread

CDC Guidance on Gatherings & Large Events: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/index.html

The Taylor County Board of Health is greatly concerned about how mass gatherings will affect the citizens, businesses, and schools of Taylor County should an outbreak occur related to an event. The Taylor County Board of Health understands the importance these events and are aware that there may be financial implications of not having these events, but they recommend decreasing the size of mass gatherings and events to decrease the health impact on the community.

Dr. Stephen Gruba, Taylor County Board of Health Medical Director
Michael Schweitzer, RPh, Taylor County Board of Health Chair
Diane Ware, Taylor County Board of Health Member Jenn Miller, RN, Taylor County Board of Health Member
Kim Watson, Taylor County Board of Health Member



Please see notice from Taylor County Public Health.

Good afternoon,

Our local public health neighbors made us aware of scam that is happening in our area.

A caller posing as an employee from your county public health department is calling saying you have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case.  The caller then says that the public health office wants to send you a COVID-19 test kit and asks to collect a $50 processing fee over the phone.

Please know that your local public health office does not provide at-home COVID-19 test kits and will never ask for your banking or credit card information over the phone.  Your best defense is to always say NO if someone you don’t know unexpectedly asks for banking or credit card numbers over the phone. To report this type of fraud, please contact the Consumer Protection Division at the Iowa Attorney General’s Office: consumer@ag.iowa.gov or 515-281-5926




The CDC has provided a one-stop resource center for the many communications toolkits that have been developed throughout the COVID-19 response that covers a variety of topics. There are digital and print resources available in multiple languages.

Topics Cover the following areas:

  • Young Adults, age 15-21
  • Childcare Programs & Summer Camps
  • Youth Sports
  • K-12 Schools
  • Businesses & Workplaces
  • Community & Faith-Bases Organizations
  • General Public
  • Domestic Travel
  • Shared & Congregate Housing
  • Parks & Rec Facilities
  • Employee & Worker Safety
  • Colleges & Universities

Check it out here:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/communication/toolkits/?deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM32945    



On Wednesday The Iowa Department of Public Health announced that it has received the first reported case of neuroinvasive West Nile Virus this season. The case was confirmed by the State Hygienic Laboratory and is an adult (18 to 40 years old) from Polk County.

About 20 percent of people infected with West Nile virus will have mild to moderate symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches and vomiting. Less than one percent of people infected become seriously ill and rarely, someone dies.

In addition, IDPH has received its first ever report of Heartland virus. The individual is an older adult (61 to 80 years old) in Appanoose County.
“These reports are an important reminder that as Iowans take advantage of outdoor activities, they should take precautions to prevent tick and mosquito bites,” said IDPH Deputy State Epidemiologist and Public Health Veterinarian, Dr. Ann Garvey.

Since Heartland virus is new to Iowa, here are answers to some common questions:

What is Heartland virus?

Heartland virus is an RNA virus in the genus Phlebovirus, family Phenuiviridae believed to be transmitted by the Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum). First discovered as a cause of human illness in 2009 in Missouri, more than 40 cases of Heartland virus disease have been reported from states in the midwestern and southern United States as of September 2018. Most people diagnosed with the disease became sick during May through September.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, anorexia, headache, nausea, diarrhea, and muscle or joint pain. Heartland virus has been found to cause leukopenia (low white blood cell count), thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), and elevated liver transaminases.

What is the treatment?

There is no specific antiviral treatment. Supportive therapy can treat some of symptoms.

What is the incubation period?

The incubation period (time from tick bite to feeling sick) is not known, but most patients reported a tick bite in the 2 weeks before they felt sick.

Who is at risk for infection?

People who work outside or participate in outdoor activities, where they are exposed to ticks, may be more likely to become infected.

What steps can be taken to reduce your risk of infection?

When spending time outdoors:

·   Wear long-sleeved shirts and long, light-colored pants tucked into socks or boots.

·   Stay on trails when walking or hiking and avoid high grass.

·   Use insect repellants.

·   After each day spent in tick-infested areas, check yourself, your children, and your pets for ticks. Ticks tend to prefer the back of the knee, armpit, scalp, groin, and back of the neck.

·   Promptly remove any attached tick. Clean the wound and disinfect the site of the bite.

When and where was Heartland virus first identified in Iowa?

The first identified case of Heartland virus in Iowa was in Appanoose County in 2020.

How can a provider test a patient for Heartland virus?

Testing for Heartland virus is available at CDC. Any provider in Iowa, who has a patient with an acute illness that may be compatible with Heartland virus disease, should call the Iowa Department of Public Health at 1-800-362-2736.

For more information about Heartland virus, visit https://www.cdc.gov/heartland-virus/index.html



Taylor County Public Health will provide mass COVID-19 drive-thru testing to the general public on Thursday, June 11th from 3-6pm.  Testing will take place in the parking lot of the Lenox Community Center (directions attached).  Testing is open to any adult, age 18 or older. 

Registration is strongly encouraged to minimize your wait time. Please register and select a testing time slot via the link: REGISTER HERE!

Registration is available in English and Spanish.

Registration will be available until 11am on June 11.

To register by phone, call 712-542-7887 from 8am-6pm on June 8-10, and 8am-11am on June 11.

A translator will be available on-site.

Please assist us in sharing this with your employees, colleagues, family and friends.  A post will be available on our Facebook page to share as well!

Thank you!



Additional Information:

We will also have the rapid test machine available from Ringgold Co. Hospital to test essential service workers.  These would include any individuals in the following fields:

Healthcare/Public Health

Law Enforcement, Public Safety and other First Responders

Food Service

Agriculture Production


Water & Wastewater

Transportation & Logistics

Critical Manufacturing


Financial Services


Test results from the rapid test machine will be available that evening or early the next day.


Registration is strongly encouraged to minimize your wait time. Please register and select a testing time slot via the link: REGISTER HERE!

Please include “ESSENTIAL SERVICE” behind your last name so we can ensure your information in placed in the correct testing lane.

Registration will be available until 11am on June 11.


To register by phone, call 712-542-7887 from 8am-6pm on June 8-10, and 8am-11am on June 11.  Please let them know that you are an essential service worker.


When you arrive at the testing site, please let traffic control know that you are an essential worker.


We encourage you to share this with your essential service staff, coworkers, family and friends.




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.



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.




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.)





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!



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.




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.


News Release

Contact: Joan Gallagher, Administrator

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....


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


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.


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


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

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

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



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


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.