A second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Hardin County. The case was announced by Greenbelt Home Care/Hardin County Public Health just before 5 p.m. Thursday.
The person is identified as being an adult between the ages of 18 and 40. No additional information about the person - their sex, town of residence or place of work - is being released. Rocky Reents, public health coordinator at Greenbelt Home Care, said the person is not hospitalized. Instead, they are self-isolating at home.
The first confirmed Hardin County case of COVID-19 was announced on March 26. It was 60-year-old Justin Weber, an Eldora business owner and pastor at Honey Creek New Providence Friends Church. Weber has been hospitalized since his diagnosis. While he spent a number of days on a ventilator, he has since been removed from the ventilator and is recovering.
A second case of the disease was announced Monday, but that news was rescinded a short time later, after local officials learned the case was the result of a mix-up at the Iowa Department of Public Health.
In all, there were 2,141 confirmed cases of the virus in Iowa when the IDPH website was last updated at around 11 a.m. Thursday. The state reports that 60 Iowans have died of the disease.
As of Thursday morning, 99 Hardin County residents had been tested for the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, the respiratory disease that results from the illness. That's less than 1 percent of the county population. Reents explained this week that those numbers reflect tests of people who live in Hardin County, but that doesn't mean that those tests were performed in Hardin County. A patient may have traveled to another county for the test.
This newest case of COVID-19, as with the first, will be investigated and the patient will be monitored by Greenbelt Home Care. Reents said public health officials will investigate where that person has been in the last 14 days and they'll reach out to anyone who's been in contact with them to ask them to self-isolate for 14 days.
Hansen Family Hospital in Iowa Falls is equipped to test patients for the virus, but it must follow criteria outlined by the Iowa Department of Public Health if the test is to be analyzed by the State Hygienic Lab. At least one of the following criteria must be met to test a person for COVID-19:
- Hospitalized patients with fever and respiratory illness;
- Adults age 60 and older with fever and respiratory symptoms and a chronic medical condition;
- Persons of any age with a fever or respiratory illness who live in a congregate setting (long term care facilities, dormitories, and residential, correctional or treatment facilities);
- Healthcare workers, essential service personnel, first responders and critical infrastructure workers who have a fever or respiratory illness
In a press release issued Thursday, Hardin County Public Health Nurse Rachel Loyd reiterated the guidance that's been stressed by government and health officials for weeks.
"We know that COVID-19 is in our communities because of community spread in Iowa. We anticipated today's case and have been planning for this," Loyd said. "We anticipate more cases. Do not go out unless it is essential, if you do please remember to practice social distancing - stay six feet away from other individuals and do not gather in groups of more than 10 people.
"If you want to help, please do your part and stay at home in order to limit your exposure," Loyd said. "Wash your hands, cover your cough. We need Hardin County residents to take this public health emergency seriously. These next few weeks are going to be critical for us to stop the spread."