Hardin County’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 was officially reported by the state on Friday morning, along with 55 other new cases and two additional deaths. That brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Iowa to 235, and the total number of deaths to three.
While the name of the Hardin County resident who tested positive for the disease is not being released – and won’t be released – the state’s announcement Friday included information about their age. They are between 41 and 60 years old.
The disease’s presence has now been confirmed in 46 of Iowa’s 99 counties. Other north central Iowa counties with confirmed cases include Wright, Cerro Gordo, Butler, Marshall, Story and Webster. There had been no confirmed cases in Franklin, Grundy or Hamilton counties as of Friday morning.
In a press release issued with the announcement of Hardin County’s first case on Thursday, Greenbelt Home Care Public Health Nurse Rachel Loyd said there will likely be more local cases of the disease, and it’s up to the public to slow COVID-19’s spread.
“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,” Loyd said. “It’s important to remain calm and practice basic infection prevention measures.”
As Hardin County’s public health agency, Greenbelt Home Care will be in charge of investigating the local case. Greenbelt Public Health Coordinator Rocky Reents said that includes determining where that person has been in the last 14 days, and contacting people who may have come into contact with them.
While local social media accounts and pages have been rife with speculation about where the person lives, that information has not been confirmed by public health officials, and it won’t be released. The Iowa Department of Public Health has said it will not release details about COVID-19 cases because “there is no public health action recommended that is different from what we are advising all Iowans to take. Since we know there is community spread, all Iowans should be practicing social distancing, staying home when ill, and monitoring their symptoms, regardless of community exposures."
The Times Citizen spoke with local health care providers this week to get answers to questions around COVID-19 in Hardin County. Find those questions and answers here.
Reents said the public is urged to follow the advice that’s been repeated over the last two weeks: distance yourself from other people by staying home whenever possible. If you’re feeling ill, do not leave your home. Wash your hands frequently and with soap for at least 20 seconds each time. And cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow or upper arm.
Find more information about COVID-19 in Iowa on the state’s coronavirus website.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has been holding daily press conferences to announce the latest updates around COVID-19 in the state. Those press conferences can be seen on the governor's Facebook page.