As the positive cases of COVID-19 continue to grow in Iowa, Page County has seen a surge in positive cases over the past month, with the first death reported on Nov. 2.
“We wish to extend our deepest sympathy to this individual’s family,” said Page County Public Health Administrator Jess Erdman. “Page County Public Health and all of our key partners, throughout the county and state, continue to work to limit the spread and impact of this virus in our communities.”
As of Sunday, Nov. 8, Page County had reported a total of 991 positive cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. Of those, 501 have recovered and four deaths had been reported. The county is currently at a positivity rate of 33.8%.
Page County Public Health Administrator Jessica Erdman said the increase of positive COVID-19 cases in the county could be for several reasons. She noted people were starting to get COVID fatigue and were getting out of the house more, and at the same time, she sees less mask-wearing and less adherence to the 6-foot guideline and large social gathering guidelines.
“Just for the month of October in Page County, we’ve already exceeded the number for March, April, May, June, July, August, and September combined,” said Erdman, “and that’s very alarming to us because our numbers just keep going up.”
Erdman said some of the increase in COVID-19 cases in the county has been from school opening back up, but overall, most of the spread has been in the general public among those 18 years of age and up. She said even with the rise of cases in the county school districts are not looking at moving to remote learning.
“I would say the schools are doing a great job at mitigating it and keeping it out of the system as much as they possibly can,” said Erdman.
A total of 380 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the county on Nov. 8 alone. Three hundred and sixty-five of the positive cases were from the Clarinda Correction Facility.
Erdman said as more is learned about COVID-19, the guidance changes. She said the latest mask guidance from the IDPH says if both parties are wearing a mask consistently and accurately and one tests positive, the other person will not need to quarantine even if they are in that 6-foot distance. She said there is no guarantee the exposed person will not catch COVID-19, but the masks offer a layer of protection if worn correctly.
“So we still ask that everybody still monitor and the first sign of any symptom we do recommend that people go and get tested,” said Erdman. “But the key part with that is you have to wear the mask consistently and accurately. The minute it goes under your nose or you take it off, that changes everything.”
Even with the latest mask guidance, Erdman said people should still maintain 6 feet apart when possible. She also noted the newest mask guidance does not apply to household members or the medical field.
Erdman said PCPH is working closely with the state to prepare for a vaccine for COVID-19. She said when a vaccine does become available, there will be two points of dispensing locations available in the county to receive the vaccine. The Clarinda Regional Health Center also continues to be a Test Iowa site open on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Erdman emphasizes the importance of wearing masks in public, practicing good hygiene, staying home, and getting tested if you do not feel well, maintaining that 6-foot distance, and avoiding large gatherings.
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