Greenbelt Home Care announced Thursday afternoon that a case of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Hardin County. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the person is self-isolating at home and is not hospitalized at this time.
Rocky Reents, Greenbelt’s Public Health Coordinator, said the county's public health agency was notified of the case at about 1:45 p.m. Thursday. She said the confirmed case doesn’t change anything locally. People should still follow the advice that’s been issued by public health and government leaders over the last two weeks.
“We keep pushing that message out – to self-isolate,” Reents said. “When the governor is doing live feeds and says those things over and over and over again, please listen to her."
That advice shared by the governor includes staying home as much as possible – especially if you are feeling ill – and washing your hands frequently, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow or upper arm. If you have symptoms that align with COVID-19 - a fever, a cough or difficulty breathing - call your primary care provider, or call Hansen Family Hospital’s COVID-19 phone number at 641-648-7113.
“While this is Hardin County’s first case, it may not be the last, and that’s why we encourage all residents to continue to make prevention a priority,” said Rachel Loyd, Greenbelt’s public health nurse. “It’s important to remain calm and practice basic infection prevention measures.”
Reents said Greenbelt Home Care will be in charge of monitoring the Hardin County resident who has COVID-19.
“We’ll have to do an investigation on our part,” she said. “We’ll investigate where that person has been in the last 14 days and we’ll monitor them twice daily until they’re symptom free for 72 hours.” People who may have come into contact with that person will be notified and may be asked to self-isolate for 14 days.
Hansen Family Hospital is set up to test for COVID-19, but patients must meet strict state criteria to qualify for a test. If the hospital tests someone who doesn’t meet the criteria, the state will not process the test. Anyone who feels they may have COVID-19 is urged to call 641-648-7113 to speak with someone before showing up at the hospital.
As of Thursday at noon there were 179 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Iowa, but the Hardin County case was not part of the daily case update, which was released just before noon. The disease has been confirmed in 37 counties (find a full map here). Of the people who have it, 31 are currently hospitalized, 81 were never hospitalized, 15 have been discharged and are recovering. One Iowan has died of COVID-19.
Approximately 80 percent of Iowans infected with COVID-19 will experience only a mild to moderate illness, Greenbelt officials said. Most mildly ill Iowans do not need to go to their health care provider or be tested to confirm they have COVID-19. Sick Iowans must stay home and isolate themselves from others in their house. Stay home and isolate from others in the house until you have been fever-free for at least 72 hours (without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) and other symptoms have improved (for example, a cough or shortness of breath have improved) and at least seven days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.
To help you make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care, visit the Centers for Disease Control website to complete the “Coronavirus Self-Checker.” If you have general questions about COVID-19, call the State hotline at 2-1-1.