COVID-19 numbers continue to rise
The COVID-19 situation in Chickasaw County has taken a decided turn for the worse in recent days, and at least one area school has pulled the plug on on-site learning for a short period of time.
Nashua-Plainfield officials on Tuesday announced the district would not have school on Wednesday and go to remote learning Thursday and Friday as the number of positive tests in the four counties the district serves — Chickasaw, Bremer, Butler, and Floyd — continued to soar.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there had been 535 positive cases of COVID in Chickasaw County, an increase of 39 in 24 hours.
MercyOne New Hampton Medical Center released a statement Wednesday urging residents to take the Coronavirus seriously.
“While we are experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases across Iowa,” the statement read, “MercyOne New Hampton Medical Center is actively working to ensure we remain prepared to provide safe care for all patients in need, whether it is COVID-19, or other illness or injury. Like many hospitals in Iowa, we are experiencing increases in the need for Coronavirus care.”
The statement went on to say that the hospital is working with its public health partners to meet the needs of the community and that MercyOne has plans in place should there be a need for additional COVID-19 care.
“We ask all Iowans to help our health care teams in slowing the spread of the virus by wearing a mask, avoiding large gatherings, maintaining social distance and performing frequent hand washing,” MercyOne officials said.
The 14-day positivity rate for Chickasaw County was at a record 22.9 percent, and schools in counties with a positivity rate above 20 percent can apply to the state to go to full-time distance learning.
New Hampton Superintendent Jay Jurrens said Wednesday that school district officials are keeping an eye on a variety of numbers and discuss the COVID-19 situation on a daily basis.
The district, as of Wednesday had 70 students quarantined because of positive tests or because they had been exposed to the virus. On the last day school was held in October, there were just six students quarantined.
“It is a lot, and it is concerning,” Jurrens said, “but we don’t have any evidence that it’s being spread at school. It’s all from the outside. … We just really need our parents to understand that we can’t do this group stuff right now. If we want to keep our activities going, we have to be smarter away from school.”
Meanwhile, at MercyOne New Hampton, COVID patients are being treated because other regional hospitals — like those in Mason City and Waterloo — are at capacity.
“MercyOne is equipped with negative pressure patient rooms to care for patients who require a hospitalization,” the hospital said in its statement. “These rooms are used for all infectious disease which require isolation. Patients who are asymptomatic would be discharged for home quarantine if medically appropriate and monitored daily by the local health department. The majority of people with COVID-19 do not require hospitalization, similar to the flu.”
New Hampton, meanwhile, closed City Hall to the public and locked the doors to the Community Center earlier this week, but employees are still working and available by phone or via the drive-up window that is located in the City Clerk’s office.
New Hampton Economic Development Director Tammy Robinson and her assistant, Megan Baltes, also urged businesses to do their part in the fight against the virus — sending out an email to IDC members Monday.
“Our meetings will go back to Zoom and not in person until further notice,” they wrote. “Please look at your business operations and discuss additional measures you can put in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19. It is going to take each and every one of us to make a difference.”