During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Butler County had very few positive cases, with Clarksville pastor and former mayor Val Swinton being a high-profile patient.
But during the month of June, infections of the novel coronavirus have spiked, more than doubling between June 1 and 9 a.m. Wednesday. The Iowa Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) coronavirus website showed Butler County having 47 positive results out of 1,443 tests administered, a positivity rate of 3.3%. That is an increase of 28 since June 1.
Jennifer Becker, BSN, director of the Butler County Public Health Department told Waverly Newspapers in an email that her department has been busy contacting all positive cases and completing contact tracing on other known people who may have interacted with them.
“We are making the initial contact with each positive person as soon as we get the notification from the Iowa Department of Public Health, including on weekends and holidays,” Becker said.
She added that most of the tests being made are done at TestIowa sites, with the two nearest being in Waterloo at Crossroads Center mall and People’s Community Health Clinic. However, there have been a few that were taken from urgent care clinics in Waterloo and Waverly.
“We are watching everywhere as we have cases in all areas of the county,” she said when asked about any trouble spots. “Initially the cases were primarily in the older adult population but over the past several weeks the cases have been spread through all the age groups.”
As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, the statewide case count stood at 29,290, with a total of 308,658 tests administered, a rate of 1 out of every 10 Iowans tested. There have been 717 deaths attributed to the virus statewide, with two of them reported in Butler County.
On the other hand, 23,447 Iowans have recovered from the virus, including 34 in Butler County. On Tuesday, the state has changed the way it counted recoveries, to include those who have not reported symptoms for 28 days since a positive test, or two incubation cycles.
Also, there are no reported long-term care outbreaks in the area. The only facility that had been under an outbreak, Bartels Lutheran Retirement Community in Waverly, exited that status on May 14 and is currently in the second of a three-phase plan to reopen.
Meanwhile, Bremer County has 88 positive COVID-19 cases, with 19 added during the last month, six deaths and 78 recovered. Black Hawk County has 2,111 positive results, according to the IDPH, with 58 deaths and 1,783 recovered. Chickasaw County has 27 cases, 20 recovered and no deaths, while Floyd County has 66 cases, two deaths and 41 recoveries, Fayette County has 34 cases, 30 recoveries and no deaths, and Buchanan County has 46 cases, one death and 34 recoveries.
Becker, the Butler County health director, believed that case numbers will continue to go up as interactions between people increase this summer.
“The virus requires a human host to survive and as people interact in close proximity to each other the virus will continue to spread,” she said. “I encourage everyone to continue to follow social distancing guidelines, wear a mask when in close proximity to others, wash their hands frequently and stay home if they are ill with the any signs of illness.”