Muscatine health official: 'COVID is still very much a threat'

Muscatine health official: 'COVID is still very much a threat'

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MUSCATINE — As the businesses of Muscatine reopen after the temporary shutdown of the state brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Muscatine County Public Health director Christy Roby Williams is concerned that if the people aren’t careful, the lockdown may have to be reinstated.

While there has been a decline in the number of reported cases of COVID-19 in Muscatine County, the trend is starting to inch back up. Roby Williams reported a daily increase in cases and links associated with disease investigation and tracing. She is also observing cases in surrounding counties such as Johnson and Scott appear to be having a higher impact over the last two weeks. She is asking for the community’s help in keeping the county safe and open.

“There is a risk and it is the risk that communicable disease is just sitting and waiting for,” Roby Williams said. “It is seeking our activity — our actions and interactions with each other — to spread and to stay active. With the increased gatherings and interactions in restaurants, bars, and activities, I definitely anticipate COVID-19 cases will continue to rise.”

Roby Williams recognizes the importance of reopening the state and the impact it has on people’s physical health, mental health and economic health. She stressed that the state does not want to move back to closures. To ensure the state remains reopened, Roby Williams said it is very important for people to consistently use precautions such as social distancing, face coverings, health screenings and extra hand hygiene efforts.

She said everyone in the county needs to work together to make a difference and have a collective impact. While some people may believe they have the right not to wear a mask, Roby Williams reminds them that their decisions may impact the safety of the entire county.

In Muscatine County, there have been a total of 14 new cases since last Thursday. Since Monday in Muscatine County, there have been two positive cases for a total of 612. No additional deaths since Monday for a total of 44. 536 people have recovered in Muscatine County. In Iowa, there have been 213 positive cases since Monday for a total of 28,941, and 5 additional deaths for a total of 712. 23,035 people have recovered in Iowa.

Roby Williams points to the increased activity of reopening the state for the numbers of confirmed cases increasing throughout the state and in Muscatine County.

The numbers are on the rise for people in the 18 to 40 year old range, Roby Williams reported. She said while the reaction may not be as severe for them, she said the concern is for the aging and vulnerable members of the population they may come into contact with.

Since the county has been reopening, the Public Health Department has provided 135 consultations to businesses and continues to do so to ensure all businesses are being guided through the reopening safely. She said the department is also active in educating the public on prevention and resources. Normal public health services are still being provided. People going to the facility are asked to wear a mask.

“COVID is still very much a threat to our community, our county and specifically the highest risk population in our county,” she said. ‘We have several long term care facilities in our county that are trying to keep COVID out of their facilities. How we act individually and collectively impacts our entire county.”

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