The Iowa Department of Public Health reported two additional cases of COVID-19 in Clay County on Monday. That brings the county’s total number of cases to 18. It’s the third day in a row that the department (IDPH) has reported additional confirmed cases. IDPH data indicates the number of recovered cases in Clay County remains at 13. Clay County also set a daily high for number of individuals tested at 25 on Monday.
Three more COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Clay County this weekend. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported one additional case on Saturday and another two cases on Sunday, bringing Clay County’s total confirmed cases to 16. Data continues to show 13 people have recovered from previously reported cases. As of Sunday morning, the state of Iowa has reported 19,484 cases of COVID-19, 11,060 recovered cases, and 533 deaths. Three northwest Iowa counties have reported deaths due to COVID-19.
Next week Spencer Hospital will reintroduce some health services that were suspended two months ago as a precaution during the initial stages of the COVID-19 public health emergency. “The hospital will carefully reintroduce additional services on June 1 after suspending certain non-essential services out of an abundance of caution,” said Spencer Hospital president Bill Bumgarner. “Service expansion plans have been advanced in consultation with hospital’s medical staff and are consistent with generally accepted public health guidelines. While risk of exposure still exists, healthcare providers have learned more about COVID-19 and how to incorporate mitigation practices over the past two months.”
Essential services have continued at Spencer Hospital throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency although many elective services were suspended. Service expansion plans entail reintroducing a range of elective services to include outpatient diagnostic, rehabilitative and screening services based on a patient’s needs and risk factors. Surgical services will be further expanded to include inpatient procedures. Limited outpatient elective surgeries were restarted in measured process two weeks ago.
“Our planning calls for an incremental increase in service access, to be followed by monitoring to ensure there’s not a significant increase in COVID-19 infection in the community, before considering expanding additional services,” said Bumgarner. “Non-essential services could be restricted or suspended again if there is a concern about the level of community spread.”
Services which will be reopened or expanded effective June 1 include the following:
· Cardiac and pulmonary rehab services will be offered in-person with number of attendees limited and safety restrictions in place. · Diagnostic imaging and laboratory services will be increased based on patient needs, identified by ordering physicians.
Gov. Kim Reynolds on May 26 signed a new proclamation continuing the Public Health Disaster Emergency until June 25, 2020. As previously announced, the proclamation permits bars, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and social and fraternal clubs may reopen on May 28 with the same public health measures as restaurants in place. The proclamation also permits the reopening on June 1 of additional establishments, including outdoor performance venues, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement parks, skating rinks, skate parks, outdoor playgrounds.
The proclamation again permits social, community, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people if public health measures are implemented, including limiting attendance to 50% of the venue capacity and maintaining six feet of distance between those attending. This also allows practices, games, and competitions for youth and adult baseball, softball, and individual sports such as running, biking, swimming, tennis, and golf to resume with appropriate public health measures in place. And the proclamation extends regulatory relief to those affected by this public health emergency until June 25.
The unemployment rate in Clay County climbed to 10.5% in April, showing how COVID-19 closures and related workforce changes have affected area jobs. April’s rate is a significant increase from the 3.7% rate in March. Clay County’s unemployment rate in April 2019 was 2.7%. Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend said last week that April was the first month Iowa truly saw the impact COVID-19 has had on the state’s unemployment rate. “We remain hopeful that as we reopen the state and more people return to work, the rate will decrease quickly and this unprecedented rate will be a very temporary one,” Townsend said.
Three new COVID-19 cases were confirmed Tuesday in Clay County, bringing the county total to 13. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported the new cases on Wednesday in an update to the state’s coronavirus data website. The data on that website show nine of Clay County’s previous cases have recovered. Testing increases in Clay County
Testing for the new coronavirus has also increased in the county. There were 25 individuals tested on May 20, according to IDPH data.
This post has been updated. Clay County still has nine confirmed COVID-19 cases, local health officials confirmed Wednesday. In a situation similar to one that occurred last week, the Iowa Department of Public Health incorrectly attributed a case to Clay County. That individual does not reside in Clay County. In an email shared with the Signal, Susan Zulk, Spencer Hospital VP of Marketing and Fund Development, stated that there could be a variety of reasons for the state misattributing cases to Clay County.
DES MOINES – Today, Governor Reynolds signed a new proclamation continuing the Public Health Disaster Emergency. The proclamation permits summer school activities, including baseball and softball, to resume on June 1. And effective this Friday, May 22, Movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, museums, and wedding reception venues will be permitted to reopen with appropriate public health measures in place. Swimming pools will also be permitted to reopen for lap swimming and swimming lessons. Governor Reynolds also announced that next Thursday, May 28, bars and other alcohol-related establishments that have been limited to carryout and delivery will be permitted to reopen for indoor or outdoor seating. These establishments will follow the same public health measures that restaurants have been implementing for the past several weeks.
With less than a dozen confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Clay County and with more services reopening for business in the region, it may be an easy assumption that the risk of COVID-19 has lessened. Yet, local public health officials and community leaders encourage people to remain vigilant in practicing safety precautions to mitigate the risk of becoming ill. “As a state and as a community, restrictions are easing. And, while it’s exciting to be able to return to our local businesses and support them, we also know that the COVID-19 virus remains a risk and wish to encourage citizens to continue to practice safety measures,” commented Spencer Mayor Kevin Robinson.
Colette Rossiter, Clay County Public Health manager, said that since a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 does not yet exist, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure. “Infection disease experts continue to learn more about this novel virus and have already learned that in addition to being spread person-to-person through respiratory droplets, the virus can live on surfaces for a time period,” Rossiter said.
Bethany Johnson knew exactly what to do last month when her water broke. Her first baby was on the way. So, shortly after 7:30 a.m. on April 11, Johnson and her husband, Ryan, went to Spencer Hospital, which is just across Grand Avenue from their house. Unfortunately, that’s when other things stopped going according to plan.
Ryan had been experiencing symptoms of a common cold. Normally, that’s no big deal, but in a time when COVID-19 was just starting to show up in Clay County, the hospital was beginning to take every precaution necessary to protect patients and staff.