Steady stream of COVID-19 cases seen in Jones Co.

Board of Supervisors
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Gov. Kim Reynolds has extended her public health emergency proclamation through July 25.

     “That doesn’t really change anything,” noted Jones County Emergency Management Coordinator Brenda Leonard during the June 30 board of supervisor meeting. “But I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what’s allowed and not allowed.”

     Leonard has also been working with local long-term care facilities in terms of what’s required before they can re-open to visitors again.

     EMA and Jones County Public Health also continue to work with local schools, and order bulk PPE. Leonard said since the Iowa Department of Education came out late last week saying facemasks would not be required in schools in the fall, those PPE order requests could change.

     Community Health Specialist Jess Wiedenhoff said while the state set July 1 as the first deadline for schools to submit their Return to Learn plans, there’s a second deadline in early August for a more fine-tuned plan.

     “What are schools deciding on masks?” asked Supervisor Wayne Manternach.

     Wiedenhoff said 24 hours after the Department of Education released their directives, education associations across Iowa stated they were not in support of the lack of mandates.

     Public Health Coordinator Jenna Lovaas shared that Jones County has seen a total of 56 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (as of July 1). She said eight people were released as no longer having the symptoms, but Jones County gained five more.

     “Are you able to contact trace?” asked Manternach.

     “For the most part,” offered Lovaas. “One is complicated because it involves travel.”

     Wiedenhoff added that with the rise in COVID-19 cases in neighboring counties, JCPH is working with those counties and others across the state and nation.

     “A lot of places are pausing and reversing re-opening plans because of the rise,” she said. “Some are doing it after, others before.”

     Wiedenhoff said they have also been receiving calls from the public regarding coronavirus conspiracy theories, asking when the second wave of the virus will hit, and wanting to know where confirmed cases reside and work.

     In a follow-up with Lovaas regarding the rise in cases, she confirmed that cases are increasing in Jones County.

     “We had a spike in Jones County starting on June 21, and we’ve had a steady stream of cases since,” she shared. “Usually just one or two new cases a day rather than six all at once like we had on June 21.”

     Lovaas admitted that dine-in services at restaurants and bars is risky right now, and urges people to still support these establishments with carry-out orders.

     “Anything that involves lots of people hanging out together inside (is risky),” added Lovaas.

     She said it would no doubt take a lot for the state to issue a statewide reversal of businesses opening up again.

     JCPH continues to encourage people to limit their time inside businesses, wear masks, maintain 6 feet of physical distancing, and practice good hygiene like staying home when sick.

     “There is a definite jump in cases among college-age people,” noted Lovaas. “Mostly because everything has opened up and people are not following those personal-level guidelines anymore.

     “We have some cases connected to both Ames and Cedar Falls lately.”

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