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BUCHANAN COUNTY – The Buchanan County Public Health Department reminds residents that they need to continue to take precautions to protect themselves and others against COVID-19 during the upcoming holiday weekend. Buchanan County has seen a rise the number of cases over the past two weeks.

“We had no new cases during the first two weeks in June,” reports Buchanan County Public Health Director Tai Burkhart, “Since June 17, we have had 11 new cases.”

Ninety-one percent of these new cases are among individuals 45 years and younger.

“We know that large gatherings have the greatest potential of spreading [the virus] very quickly,” said Burkhart, “We want more than anything for Buchanan County residents to remain healthy. We also understand how frustrating it is to be separated from friends and family. Yet, social/physical distancing is one of the best prevention measures a person can take to protect themselves and others.”

Buchanan County Public Health has been taking numerous calls in these past two weeks related to potential exposures. Here are a few things to consider if you feel you may have been exposed:

- Were you in close contact with a known case? Close contact means within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more. Just being at the same venue does not mean you are a close contact.

- If you feel that you may have been exposed, call your health care provider. Other options to help determine the need for self-isolation and testing is the Buchanan County Health Center COVID call center. The phone number is 319-332-0894. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

- If in doubt, isolate yourself for 14 days since the date of exposure.

In addition to social/physical distancing, everyone needs to clean their hands often, stay home when ill, clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others. Symptoms of COVID-19 can appear up to 14 days after exposure and include cough, shortness of breath, fever (greater than 100.4), chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and/or new loss of taste or smell. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should call your health care provider or the call center. As of June 30, 2020, there are 45 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Buchanan County.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the Iowa Department of Public Health web page at https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus or https://coronavirus.iowa.gov/.