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Winneshiek County is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases

Posted: Thu, Jul 2, 2020 8:02 AM

For nearly four weeks in June, Winneshiek County reported no new COVID-19 cases.

But that streak has come to an end as new cases have been reported during this week.  The number of Winneshiek County residents who tested positive for COVID-19--which was stuck at 24 for most of June--is now at 33.

At Wednesday's Winneshiek Medical Center Board of Trustees meeting, the talk was that many of the latest cases came from exposures at large gatherings of people, such as graduation parties and birthday parties.

Winneshiek County Public Health has issued a statement telling the public, "It appears that we may have let down our guard and didn't think it was going to affect us...we have become more relaxed when we didn't have a case for almost a month in our county."

But the news release goes on to say, "People have been traveling more, more visitors have come to our area, re-openings have occurred, and the potential for unknown exposures does exist."

Once a person tests positive, Winneshiek County Public Health will be in contact with them and to get a list of the close contacts they had in the previous 48 hours BEFORE symptoms started or before they were tested. The close contacts are those persons you were in a space of less than 6 feet for 15 minutes or more during that period of potential exposure. The close contacts of a positive will also be contacted by Public Health.  Winneshiek Medical Center and Gundersen Health systems are strongly encouraging those persons who have been told to be tested by Public Health to contact the triage nurse at each facility and work with them on setting up an appointment to be tested at their drive-through clinics.  People being tested at those facilities or any other surrounding communities' facilities MUST call the facilities first.  You can also get tested through TestIowa.

The Public Health news release also notes:

"Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. Some persons may also be asymptomatic.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
Fever or chills
Cough
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Fatigue
Muscle or body aches
Headache
New loss of taste or smell
Sore throat
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
Diarrhea

Do your part and following these steps:
Wearing masks when out in public, especially when unable to maintain the social distancing;
Limiting contact with people outside of your household;
Avoid large groups;
Staying home if ill;
Maintaining the 6 feet social distance;
Continued use of hand sanitizer or washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds."

For questions or more information, contact Winneshiek County Public Health at (563) 382-4662 or www.winneshiekhealth.org and be in contact with your healthcare provider.