On Tuesday, Greenbelt Home Care/Hardin County Public Health announced five new local COVID-19 cases, bringing the total county case total to 81. The announcement came on the same day that Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds urged Iowans to remember that "Your decisions could potentially affect the lives of others" as the novel coronavirus continues to spread in the state.
Hardin County's first COVID-19 case was reported on March 26. Since then, 81 people have tested positive for the disease. Of the five new cases announced Tuesday, one is age 18-40, three are between the ages of 41 and 60, and one is age 61-80.
Forty-seven of the 81 Hardin County COVID-19 patients are classified as having recovered, and as of last Wednesday, none of the Hardin County COVID-19 patients were hospitalized. While there have been 732 deaths from the disease statewide, no Hardin County residents are included in that count.
As of Wednesday morning, 1,870 Hardin County residents had been tested for COVID-19. That's about 11 percent of the county's total population.
On Tuesday, during her press conference, Gov. Kim Reynolds reminded the public that not taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 could lead to higher infection rates.
"With more people gathering in larger numbers, whether that's at the bars or restaurants, social events or even protests, there is a greater chance that more people will be exposed to COVID-19 and become infected, and especially if recommended precautions to prevent the spread of the virus aren’t being taken," she said.
Positive cases have been in the rise in many areas of the state, particularly among young adults. Reynolds reported on Tuesday that of the Iowans who tested positive for COVID-19 in June, 50 percent were age 18-40, while 8 percent were 0-17, 21 percent were 41-60, 19 percent were 61-80, 2 percent were 80 and older.
That trend is being seen in Hardin County, too. Of the 81 people who've tested positive for COVID-19, 52 percent are age 18-40.
"There’s a perception that because COVID is less serious for younger adults that an increase in positive cases among this age group isn’t an issue. But that perception is false," Reynolds said. "The consequences of COVID-19 continuing to spread among young adults increases the likelihood that the virus will continue to spread and then spread to others, including those who are most vulnerable. Our decisions matter. Protecting yourselves means you’re protecting your friends,you family members and your coworkers."
Public health officials have repeatedly urged the public to take preventative measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus - and Reynolds repeated those preventative measures on Tuesday: stay home if you feel ill; cover coughs and sneezes; disinfect frequently-touched surfaces; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding close contact (less than six feet of distance) with people who don't live in your household; cover your mouth and nose with a cloth mask when you're around others; and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
If you feel ill, call Hansen Family Hospital's COVID-19 phone number at 641-648-7113 to speak with a provider, who may or may not order a coronavirus test. Iowans are also asked to complete a health assessment on the TestIowa website. Through that website, COVID-19 tests at TestIowa sites can be scheduled. The closest TestIowa site is in Black Hawk County.
Find more information about Iowa's COVID-19 numbers and testing on the state's coronavirus website.