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Grundy County Prepares for COVID-19

March 12, 2020
Reinbeck Courier

The Grundy County Public Health Department is advising residents about how to prepare for the potential spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. As of Monday, thirty-five states including Iowa are reporting confirmed positive cases of the virus.

"Grundy County residents can help prevent the spread of all viruses, including influenza and COVID-19," remarks Katie Thornton-Lang, Program Coordinator for Grundy County Public Health. "Residents should prepare for the potential of coronavirus in your household in the same way you prepare for severe weather or other events that disrupt your normal routine. Make a plan and discuss it with your family. For instance, give some thought to what you would do if you could not go to work or school because of illness or if your day care provider was ill. Consider how you can get groceries or medication if you are ill, or while you are trying to maintain a distance from others in order to avoid the virus." says Lang.

Lang says that it's important for people to put into practice the three "Cs" that apply to prevention infection for coronavirus, or any other virus:

your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper arm/elbow

Clean your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available

Contain germs by staying home when ill

Symptoms of the COVID-19 in people who have been exposed can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

Hospital Enacts Visitor Restrictions; Prepared with Screening Process

In order to protect the safety of hospitalized patients by limiting exposure to respiratory viruses, Grundy County Memorial Hospital-UnityPoint Health is restricting visitors. Effective March 10, visitors will be limited to two adults for each patient who is hospitalized or undergoing a procedure. In addition, members of the public are being asked to avoid visiting the hospital for purposes other than to receive health care services. This includes the use of hospital meeting rooms and dining in the East J Caf.

"Maintaining the safety of all patients as well as the hospital associates who care for them is of utmost importance as seasonal influenza is prominent and COVID-19 has been identified within the state," says Jody Schipper, MSN, Director of Clinical Services.

The hospital is prepared for people who may seek care for respiratory symptoms or are concerned they have been exposed to the coronavirus. According to Schipper, a screening procedure has been in place for the past ten days for people who have recently traveled to countries where the virus is prominent and are exhibiting symptoms. Those who screen positive will be isolated while the Iowa Department of Public Health is contacted regarding testing for COVID-19. The hospital advises those who have symptoms and may have been exposed to the virus to contact their primary care office for instructions. If emergency care is needed for someone who has symptoms, it's requested that the hospital be notified by phone at 319-824-5421 before the patient arrives, if possible. This allows the patient to be immediately isolated from others upon arrival at the hospital.

The hospital is participating in daily updates and education within the UnityPoint Health System, as well as meeting with local EMS and county health officials in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect those who are in the hospital's care.

For information and updates related to COVID-19, visit addition, a public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1.



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