COVID-19

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Hardin County has recorded its first COVID-19 death, nearly five months after the disease's presence was first confirmed here.

Greenbelt Home Care/Hardin County Public Health announced the death in a press release issued on Wednesday morning. According to the release, the individual was an older adult, age 61-80. The name of the individual, their place of residence and the date of death were not released by public health officials, but an obituary published by Abels Funeral Home states that 75-year-old Gregg Reisinger, of Eldora, died on Aug. 16 after a month-long battle with COVID-19.

"We wish to extend our sympathy to this individual's family," Greenbelt Home Care Public Health Coordinator Rocky Reents said in a press release. "Greenbelt Home Care and all of our key partners throughout the county and state continue to work to limit the spread and impact of this virus in our communities."

On Tuesday, the state surpassed 1,000 deaths associated with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. As of Wednesday morning, a total of As of Tuesday morning, 1,002 Iowans had died, according to the state's coronavirus website. Only 17 of Iowa's 99 counties have not recorded any COVID-19 deaths as of Wednesday morning.

Since March, 194 Hardin County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Of that total, at least 134 have recovered and one person has died, which means 59 people are still infected with the illness.

Young adults have made up the largest share of positive tests in Hardin County. The breakdown of ages of local patients is as follows:

  • 20.7 percent are age 0-17
  • 43 percent are age 18-40
  • 22.8 percent are age 41-60
  • 13 percent are age 61-80
  • 0.5 percent are age 81 and older 

On Monday this week, the Times Citizen reported that an error in the state's communicable diseases reporting system has erroneously been backdating some new COVID-19 cases. According to an email sent by a lead state epidemiologist in response to a question posed by a nurse practitioner in Iowa City, when a person tests negative for COVID-19 once, and then later tests positive, the state's system assigns the positive test result to the date of the first test. The Times Citizen reached out to Iowa Department of Public Health spokesperson Amy McCoy for comment on the issue, but McCoy still had not commented on the issue or answered other questions about it as of 9 a.m. on Wednesday. The issue has also been reported by the Bleeding Heartland blog and the Associated Press.

In announcing the death on Wednesday, Reents urged all county residents to take steps to stop the spread of COVID-19, including:

  • Stay home as much as possible. Leave only for essential errands like groceries or getting medication. When you run these errands, send only one person from the household if possible.
  • Stay home even if you're only mildly ill (the kind of illness that normally wouldn't prevent you from your everyday activities)
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow/upper arm 
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms including 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 and diarrhea. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you're instructed to call your health care provider before going into the office. They will walk you through a series of questions and may ask you to report to a testing site.

Hansen Family Hospital in Iowa Falls is able to test for COVID-19, but patients should not show up at the hospital. Call the HFH COVID-19 phone number at 641-648-7113 first.

Testing is also available through the state's TestIowa sites and clinics. Complete an online assessment at TestIowa.com and you may be prompted to schedule an appointment at a TestIowa site. Find a list of TestIowa sites on the state's coronavirus website. The closest sites to Hardin County are in Waterloo and Marshalltown.

(1) comment

Cornelia Throssel

I'm disappointed that Reents list of cautions concerning COVID-19 does not include mask wearing. We should all be wearing masks when we are around others, especially indoors.

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