Allamakee County Public Health officials say all communities impacted by COVID-19 cases

Everyone continuing to follow mitigation measures is key to limiting virus spread

Allamakee County one of 22 counties in Iowa still under stricter restrictions until May 15

The positive COVID-19 infection case count for Allamakee County continues to climb, with this past week featuring another near doubling of total positive cases, a new single-day high of 12 reported confirmed cases and - as a result of that continued case increase - extension of the current social distancing and other restrictions put in place by the State of Iowa for at least another two weeks for Allamakee County while 77 other Iowa counties can begin to have their restrictions lessened a bit starting this Friday. A total of 32 new confirmed positive cases were reported in Allamakee County this past week by the Iowa Department of Public Health, nearly doubling the county’s total case count once again in just one week and leaving the county’s case census at 72 individuals as of Monday, April 27.

Allamakee County Public Health officials say much of the sharp rise in confirmed positive cases in the county this past week can be attributed to targeted testing by the Iowa Department of Public Health at a pair of northeast Iowa businesses described by officials as “not being located in Allamakee County but employing some Allamakee County residents.” Those officials say that even though the businesses tested are located outside of Allamakee County, the positive test results are reported in the employees’ county of residence. No additional details were able to be released by Public Health about that targeted testing.

Officials also say that contributing to the increased case numbers is the fact that as more positive cases are confirmed, those individuals have likely already come in contact with others prior to having their diagnosis confirmed by testing - thus, raising the case count exponentially and reaffirming the urgency of following social distancing and other mitigation measures already in place, no matter the location or the circumstance. Allamakee County Public Health officials say that the exponential community spread has likely resulted in positive cases of COVID-19 existing in all communities within the county.

With the idea in mind that the virus is anticipated to be in all communities to one degree or another, Public Health officials continue to stress the importance of following those current guidelines in place to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 infection. Those guidelines continue to include limiting group gatherings, maintaining a six-foot distance from others when in an allowable public place, staying home when ill and as much as possible when healthy - only going out for essential needs when necessary, washing hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow/upper arm.

In light of the continued recent increase in case count, Allamakee County was not one of the 77 counties in Iowa that Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds began to lighten restrictions on with her Monday, April 27 Proclamation. Instead, Governor Reynolds has extended her most recent mitigation measures until May 15 for 22 Iowa counties based on increasing case count and lack of stabilization in that count, along with number of hospitalizations and other metrics.

Those 22 counties include both Allamakee and Fayette in the four-county corner of northeast Iowa, with Winneshiek and Clayton counties both being included in the other 77 counties that will have some of those guideline restrictions reduced beginning this Friday, May 1. Those lightened restrictions include allowing restaurants, fitness facilities, libraries, malls and other retail establishments to reopen at 50% of their patron capacity while keeping social distancing measures in place.

The Governor did say they will continue to assess any changes in case situations and therefore may make adjustments to her latest proclamation. The newly established May 15 deadline for the 22 counties that have been kept under the State’s original restrictions will also be evaluated once again for further extension or discontinuation, depending upon continued assessment of case numbers and other qualifying metrics.

Waukon Mayor Pat Stone shared his thoughts on the virus and the importance of continuing to follow the guidelines put in place to help slow the spread of the disease. “When we started the different levels of ‘lock down,’ the intention was to slow the amount of people becoming infected so health care givers would not be overwhelmed. To the best of my knowledge, everyone in need has had a bed available to them along with the best medical care,” Stone commented.

“The shutdown was never intended to eradicate the virus. At some point we will all more than likely come in contact with it. I feel we should continue to take the spread seriously along with practicing safe measures with those most vulnerable due to age and underlying health issues. They need a bed available to have a fighting chance.

“In my opinion, as long as there are medical staff available to treat individuals that have serious conditions from the virus, we are on track to the original goal. Please keep this in mind. I know the numbers are scary, but the goal is to have staffing and beds available for those who need them. We do have them at this time.”

Information released Monday, April 27 by the Allamakee County Department of Public Health and Iowa Department of Public Health reported that of the county’s now 72 confirmed cases, 31 are listed as “Recovered/Off Isolation”, which is nearly a dozen more than what had been reported at that same status a week earlier. Despite the overall case count rising, only two Allamakee County cases are currently hospitalized and 36 are reported as being isolated recovering at home. As of Monday, April 27, the Iowa Department of Public Health reports 213 tests have been run on Allamakee County residents, with five of those test results still pending.

The 32 new Allamakee County confirmed cases this past week included four reported Tuesday, April 21 that were confirmed in one adult (ages 18-40) and three middle age adults (ages 41-60). One more case was reported each day Wednesday, April 22 (ages 18-40) and Thursday, April 23 (ages 41-60). Friday, April 24 saw four more cases confirmed, including one in an adult (ages 18-40) and three others in the middle age range (41-60 years).

Saturday, April 25, saw six cases confirmed that were evenly split in adults (ages 18-40) and middle age adults (41-60 years). A new single-day high for Allamakee County of 12 cases emerged Sunday, April 26, with 10 of those in adults (ages 18-40) and the other two in middle age adults (ages 41-60). Monday morning, April 27 saw four more cases equally split between all four of the youngest age groups, including the first child (ages 0-17) reported since April 2, in addition to one adult (ages 18-40), one middle age adult (ages 41-60) and one older adult (ages 61-80).

Once again, all but two of this past week’s cases, 30 of the 32, were in the two “working age” ranges of 18-40 years and 41-60 years. Those two age groups feature the most cases currently reported in Allamakee County, with the 18-40 age range having 32 cases and the 41-60 age range having 29 confirmed cases.

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