Fayette County is now part of the global pandemic, with its first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 announced Saturday by Fayette County Public Health.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the individual, who is between 18 and 40 years old, is self-isolating at home.
The IDPH on Saturday reported 23 additional COVID-19 cases, and then 22 more on Sunday, for a total of 90 positive cases. To date, there have been 1,215 negative tests conducted at the State Hygienic Lab.
“While this is Fayette County’s first case, it may not be the last, and that’s why we encourage all residents to continue to make prevention a priority,” said Fayette County Public Health Director Jes Wegner.
Recommended preventative actions include washing hands frequently, covering up coughs and sneezes and staying home when sick.
More than 15,000 cases of the respiratory disease have been confirmed across the nation as of Friday, according to the Centers for Disease Control, with more than 200 deaths. All 50 states have confirmed cases.
Iowa, like many other states, has shut down schools and put limits on events and businesses in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus so health care facilities are not overwhelmed. Gov. Kim Reynolds‘ prohibitions on restaurants, bars, theaters, other entertainment venues, gyms, senior citizen centers, adult daycare facilities and gatherings of more than 10 people are scheduled to expire at 11:59 p.m. on March 31.
At her Sunday news conference, the governor widened the prohibitions to include salons, medical spas, barbershops, tattoo establishments, tanning facilities, massage therapy establishments, and swimming pools until 11:59 p.m. March 31.
The state of emergency declared by Reynolds is scheduled to expire April 16.
Of Iowa’s 90 confirmed cases, Johnson County has the most, 32. The county is home to Iowa City and has a population of more than 130,000 people.
Three counties bordering Fayette County already had confirmed cases. Allamakee had five cases by Saturday, followed by Black Hawk County with three and Winneshiek County with one.
Black Hawk County has a population of 132,408, followed by Winneshiek at 20,029, and Allamakee at 13,832.
Fayette County has an estimated population of 19,660 people, of which about 22% are at least 65 years old, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“Older people and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness,” the Centers for Disease Control website says.
Among Fayette and its surrounding counties with COVID-19 cases, Allamakee has the highest percentage of its population at 65 years old and above, at about 23%, followed by Winneshiek at 21% and Black Hawk at 16.5%.
According to IDPH, the locations and age ranges of the 23 newly confirmed Iowa cases include:
- Allamakee County, a middle age adult (41-60 years), and an older adult (61-80 years)
- Black Hawk County, a middle age adult (41-60 years) and an elderly person (81 years or older)
- Dubuque County, an older adult (61-80 years)
- Fayette County, an adult (18-40 years)
- Henry County, an adult (18-40 years)
- Johnson County, three adults (18-40 years), a middle age adult (41-60 years), and an older adult (61-80 years)
- Linn County, two adults (18-40 years) and a middle age adult (41-60 years)
- Muscatine County, a middle age adult (41-60 years)
- Polk County, two middle age adults (41-60 years) and two older adults (61-80 years)
- Pottawattamie County, a middle age adult (41-60 years)
- Story County, an adult (18-40 years)
- Washington County, a middle age adult (41-60 years)
The 22 cases reported Sunday:
- Cerro Gordo County, two adults (18-40 years)
- Dallas County, one older adult (61-80 years)
- Dubuque County, two middle-aged adults (41-60 years)
- Harrison County, two older adults (61-80 years)
- Johnson County, two adults (18-40 years), one middle-aged (41-60 years), two older (61-80 years)
- Kossuth County, one adult (18-40 years)
- Linn County, one middle age adult (41-60 years)
- Poweshiek County, one elderly adult (81 years or older)
- Scott County, one middle-aged adult (41-60 years)
- Sioux County, one older adult (61-80 years)
- Tama County, two adults (18-40 years), one middle-aged adult (41-60 years)
- Washington County, one middle-aged adult (41-60 years)
- Woodbury County, one middle-aged adult (41-60 years)
Government officials across the nation are stressing that people practice prevention, specifically by:
• Washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time.
• Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow/upper arm.
• Staying home when ill.
Approximately 80% of Iowans infected with COVID-19, will experience only a mild to moderate illness, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health, which also says that most mildly ill Iowans do not need to go to their health care provider or be tested to confirm they have COVID-19.
Sick Iowans must stay home and isolate themselves from others in their house, the agency says. Stay home and isolate from others in the house until:
• You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers),
• other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved),
• at least seven days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.
If you think you may need health care, call first. Your provider can assess whether you need to be seen in the office or if you can recover at home. There may also be options for you to talk to a medical provider from home using technology.
For up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the IDPH webpage and follow the department on Facebook at @IowaDepartmentOfPublicHealth and on Twitter at @IAPublicHealth.