Clayton County has first confirmed COVID-19 case

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

COVID-19 has made its way to Clayton County. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed the first case—a female in the age group of 18 to 40—on March 26. The individual is currently self-isolating at home.

“While this is Clayton County’s first case, it may not be the last, and that’s why we encourage all residents to continue to make prevention a priority,” said Clayton County Visiting Nurse Association Director Stacey Killian.

Allamakee County Public Health (Veterans Memorial Hospital Community and Home Care) had a similar message in a news release sent out March 27. There, seven people have tested positive for COVID-19. Three cases have already recovered and been released from isolation, while another three are recovering at home under isolation. Unfortunately, the seventh, a male between the ages of 61 and 80, died on March 26. 

“We do expect to see more positive cases in the coming days,” the release added. “Allamakee County Public Health and our other area health partners can not stress enough the importance of staying home. This does slow the spread.”

According to IDPH, Iowa had 424 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, March 30—a jump of 88 cases from the previous day. To date, six Iowans have died.

The first death, on March 24, was an older adult, 61 to 80 years of age, who lived in Dubuque County, where there have now been 21 confirmed cases.

Nearby Winneshiek County has three cases and Fayette two.

“We need to take this seriously,” said Dr. Michele Dikkers, chairperson of the Clayton County Board of Health. “Our best protection is not to get it. This is why it is so important to avoid contact with people outside your own home.”

Allamakee County Public Health said staying home doesn’t mean people can’t go for a walk or be outside. They should simply practice social distancing, staying six feet away from other people.

“Send one person out to go to the grocery store to get essentials for one week,” officials noted. “Utilize technology to connect socially by phone calls, texting, video streaming, Facebook live, Zoom and other apps. We understand you need to be able to connect with others, but for everyone’s safety, it needs to be at a distance.”

“If you stay home now, we can be together later,” they added.

Dikkers said other ways to prevent infection and spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19 include:

  • Staying home if you are sick.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze.
  • Thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Disinfecting surfaces and objects using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

If you begin to experience symptoms and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, call your primary care provider before seeking medical attention. Symptoms to look for include chills, fever, cough, runny nose, body aches, chest pain and shortness of breath.

According to Clayton County officials, approximately 80 percent of Iowans infected with COVID-19 will experience only a mild to moderate illness. 

“Most mildly ill Iowans do not need to go to their healthcare provider or be tested to confirm they have COVID-19,” they stated.

Sick Iowans must stay home and isolate themselves from others in their house until:

  • The person has had no fever for at least 72 hours. (That is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers.)
  • Other symptoms, such as cough or shortness of breath, have improved.
  • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

2-1-1 is a phone line available across Iowa to assist with general questions on COVID-19. Many local health care facilities have also developed coronavirus resource pages or hotlines to aid patients.

More information can also be found on the Iowa Department of Public Health webpage at https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus.

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