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CCF prepares for mass testing after 13 COVID cases reported
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CCF prepares for mass testing after 13 COVID cases reported

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HJ - Standard SW Iowa Graphic

A total of 30 positive COVID-19 cases, including 13 at the Clarinda Correctional Facility, were confirmed Sept. 30, by Page County Public Health.

"This is the biggest day we've had and September has been the biggest month we've had," Page County Public Health Administrator Jessica Erdman said.

Erdman said the 17 cases from the general public involve people of various ages, but all of those individuals are isolating at home. As for the 13 cases at the Clarinda Correctional Facility, she said the inmates have been placed in isolation to keep them away from the rest of the prison population.

The 13 inmates will undergo a 10-day isolation period like other individuals testing positive for the virus, Erdman said. Any inmates who were in close contact with the infected prisoners were placed in quarantine for 14 days.

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"The prison is doing a great job of keeping things under control. The state is sending in a strike team to assist with mass testing," Erdman said. "The strike team consists of people with Iowa Public Health who can assist with administering the tests and completing the paperwork. The tests will be sent off to the state hygienic lab to get the results. This is the same place TestIowa gets its results from. We should know the results in 48 hours or under."

When the pandemic became evident in March, Erdman said officials at the CCF immediately implemented mitigation measures to protect the health and safety of staff and inmates at the facility. There had been no positive cases reported at the prison until Wednesday.

"They have a closer population in the prison, so the virus could spread easier than among the general public. However, the prison has done everything it can to mitigate the spread and have taken all the extra precautions they can. Since day one they took the leap when things started going south. They have been giving it their all and have been amazing to work with," Erdman said.

With the 30 cases reported Wednesday, Page County has had 211 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the pandemic. Of those cases, 154 people have recovered from the virus and there have been no deaths.

Still, Erdman said people in Page County need to continue following the health guidelines relating to the virus. This includes practicing physical distancing; wearing face coverings; washing their hands regularly; disinfecting surfaces; monitoring any potential symptoms; staying home from work or school when sick; and staying home while awaiting test results.

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