Allamakee County reports fifth COVID-19 death, most cases in a week since early May; TASC announces confirmed cases, closure and quarantine of all locations

The past week saw an impact of COVID-19 not seen in Allamakee County since early May of this year, as confirmed case numbers soared to their highest level since that spring timeframe and the first death attributed to the virus was recorded since the first week in May as well. A total of 18 new cases have been reported for Allamakee County by the State of Iowa from within the past week’s timeframe of Tuesday, September 1 through Monday, September 7, the highest number during a similar week-long timeframe since April 28 through May 4, when 27 cases were reported during that seven-day stretch.

The Allamakee County death being attributed to COVID-19 this past week was reported by the State of Iowa Tuesday, September 1, but took place prior to that reported date. Allamakee County Public Health officials report that the death involved a female in the 61-80 years of age range but could not release any further details.

The higher case count for this past week began with half of this week’s total - nine cases - being reported by the State of Iowa Tuesday, September 1, which Allamakee County Public Health officials said was more due to extensive case confirmation over a period of time all reported the same day rather than a designated hot spot within the county from any targeted testing. The past week’s timeframe ended with TASC, Inc. making an announcement Monday, September 7 of three positive cases confirmed within staff and clients in one of its residential houses in Waukon, with further details of that announcement printed below.

In between those book-end announcements from this past week, a single case was reported for Allamakee County by the State of Iowa Thursday, September 3 and five more cases were reported Saturday, September 5.

Allamakee County Public Health officials continue to stress the importance of the basic mitigation measures that have been in place throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials encourage continued social distancing and the wearing of masks when that proper social distancing is not possible, avoiding large gatherings, washing hands frequently with soap and water, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or elbow, and staying home when feeling ill.

TASC, Inc. of Waukon released a statement to the public Monday, September 7 advising that Friday evening, September 4 a staff member at a TASC residential home in Waukon tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed into quarantine. Residents of that TASC house were also then tested over the weekend, with two of those residents also testing positive and the entire residential house being placed in quarantine.

The TASC release further stated that symptoms experienced by those testing positive have been very mild and all are currently doing well. The organization is working with the Allamakee County and State of Iowa Departments of Public Health, and those who may have had possible exposure will be notified.

TASC officials further noted that the two house residents who tested positive over the weekend did attend the TASC work center located north of Waukon Friday, September 4, which is the date Public Health officials determined as the date of possible exposure. They further explain that the TASC Crisis Team has determined that it is in the best interest of all involved to immediately close the TASC center through September 18 to help prevent further spread. That Crisis Team has also implemented other precautionary measures such as placing individuals in TASC residential homes back in quarantine and not allowing home visits or visitors at the houses during this time.

“We are very sorry to have to close the center once again, but client and staff safety must be our first priority,” the statement further read. “We are taking every precaution possible to take good care of our folks.”

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