Public Health Officials Provide COVID-19 Information for Local Residents

posted on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 in COVID-19

Spencer Hospital Community Health/Clay County Public Health authorities are advising residents about what they can do now to prepare for the potential spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. To date, no one in Iowa has tested positive for COVID-19.

“Since the start of the spread of the virus, Spencer Hospital Community Health/Clay County Public Health has worked closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to monitor potential cases of COVID-19,” said Colette Rossiter, Clay County Public Health Nurse. “We have and will continue to work with our local, state and national partners to be ready in the event the virus impacts Iowa.”

There are specific actions all local residents can take to help prevent the spread of all viruses, including influenza and COVID-19:

Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper arm/elbow
Clean your hands frequently with soap and water
Contain germs by staying home when ill

Symptoms of COVID-19 are not distinguishable from other common respiratory illnesses, such as influenza or RSV. If someone is experiencing symptoms such as fever and shortness of breath, healthcare providers will also ask if their symptoms occurred within 14 days of travel to an affected geographical region, or if they have been in contact with an individual with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

“If someone is concerned that due to their travels in a country where the virus risk is high or if they have been in contact with someone with a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19, then they should call us at Clay County Public Health, the hospital emergency department, or Avera Medical Group Spencer to determine the process for being tested,” Rossiter explained. “If they have not traveled in an affected region or have not been exposed to a person known to have COVID-19, they should come to the clinic, don a mask, and then they will be tested for other respiratory illnesses which are more prevalent in our region currently.”

“While it’s understandable that there’s a high level of concern about coronavirus in our community, it’s important to keep your level of risk in perspective,” said Rossiter.  “I encourage everyone to utilize preventative actions and rely on informed sources of information, such as the Iowa Department of Public Health, to keep abreast about matters related to the virus.”

Residents should prepare for the potential of COVID-19 in the same way they prepare for severe weather or other events that could disrupt their normal routine. This includes making a plan and discussing it with your family. What would you do if you could not go to work or school because of illness? What if your day care provider was ill? How would you get groceries if you were ill? These are all questions to consider.

For information and updates related to COVID-19, visit and follow IDPH on Facebook (@IowaDepartmentofPublicHealth) and Twitter (@IAPublicHealth.

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