UPDATE: This story, which was originally published at 9:15 a.m., was updated at 2:45 p.m. after a 15th local case was reported.
Two additional Hardin County resident have tested positive for COVID-19. The first was announced by the Iowa Department of Public Health on the state’s coronavirus website late Tuesday night, and the second was announced late Wednesday morning.
These are the first COVID-19 case confirmations in a week and they follow a peak day for coronavirus testing of Hardin County residents. The state website reports that 30 Hardin County residents were tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday. The previous single-day high for testing of local residents was April 30, when 24 tests were performed.
Greenbelt Home Care/Hardin County Public Health reports that both of the new cases are in a people age 18-40. Of the 15 residents who have tested positive, nine are age 18 to 40; four are age 41 to 60; and two are age 61 to 80.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the state was reporting that 18,360 Iowans have tested positive for COVID-19, while 491 Iowans have died. There have been no Hardin County deaths from COVID-19.
During her press conference Tuesday, Gov. Kim Reynolds cautioned against looking only at positive test result numbers. She said other data show the state trending in a positive direction, and that’s the data being used to determine when businesses, churches and other establishments should open. Many are either open now - at reduced capacity - or will open in the next week.
“In March we tested 7,884 Iowans. In April we tested 42,000 Iowans. And through Friday in May we tested 84,023 Iowans,” Reynolds said Tuesday morning. “So the capacity - it’s encouraging to see our ability to meet the needs of Iowans that want to get tested. So we have to stop looking at the numbers, at the positive. We’ve got to look at trends. We’ve got to look at 14-day trends, we’ve got to look at three-day trends, we’ve got to look at hospitalization trends. We’ve got to look at positivity, we’ve got to look at days to double. And if you look at all of those criteria that i just mentioned, all of them are trending downward. So that tells us we can continue to open up.”
According to state data, 393 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Wednesday, down from the statewide high of 413 on May 9. Sixty-six Iowans are on ventilators today, down from the statewide high of 107 on May 10.
A total of 495 Hardin County residents have been tested for COVID-19 - 1 in 34 residents, or about 2.9 percent of the 16,868 people in the county. Of those who've been tested, 2.8 percent have been positive for the disease.
As of last week, anyone who wants a COVID-19 test can get one through a TestIowa site. The state is urging residents to complete an assessment at TestIowa.com, and if they want a test they can schedule one.
Of the 15 Hardin County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, nine have recovered, including the county’s first case, Justin Weber, who was hospitalized for 56 days and returned home to Eldora last week.
Iowa Department of Public Health Deputy Director Sarah Reisetter spoke at Tuesday’s press conference to remind the public about the guidelines the department has issued to slow the spread of COVID-19. They include:
- Iowans over age 65 and those with underlying health conditions should continue to stay home as much as possible
- Continue to practice good social distancing when out and about (stay six feet or more from other people)
- Wear a mask or other cloth face covering when social distancing is not possible
- Stay home if you're not feeling well, and seek health care when it’s appropriate
- Practice good personal hygiene - cover coughs and sneezes and wash your hands frequently
- Pay attention to and follow the restrictions that are in place when you visit a business or establishment to keep yourself and others as safe as possible
Find more information about coronavirus and the latest data on the state’s website.