November 11, 2020
News release: for immediate release
Sioux County healthcare leaders urge masking – including in churches Asking for public’s help in slowing the surge of COVID-19
Following Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ proclamation on November 10 regarding masking and indoor gatherings, the CEOs of the four Sioux County hospitals – along with Community Health Partners – are imploring all residents of Sioux County to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to gathering restrictions and mask requirements. Wearing masks in indoor public settings helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“We as a hospital and health system community implore each resident and visitor in Sioux County to follow the Governor’s proclamation requiring masking for indoor gatherings of 25 or more people,” stated the health system leaders, adding “Specifically, we urge every church to strongly consider voluntarily submitting to this protocol as well.”
According to the health system leaders, at least 15 Sioux County residents currently are hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus. Sioux County has had an additional 95 positive cases in the past two days. The county’s 14-day positivity rate (the percent of people testing positive among those tested) is now 29.4 percent.
“Sioux County is experiencing substantial community spread of COVID-19,” the health system leaders state. “The strain on the local healthcare systems and their employees is very real, and we need to keep our healthcare workers safe and available to care for those who need it.”
Governor Reynolds’ November 10 proclamation states that any social, community, recreational, leisure, or sports gathering or event of more than 25 people held indoors, or more than 100 people outdoors, is prohibited through November 30 unless all participants over the age of two wear masks at all times except while eating or drinking. Spiritual and religious gatherings are exempt from this prohibition; however, healthcare leaders are strongly urging Sioux County churches to voluntarily adopt the mask requirement for group gatherings through November 30.
During this very challenging time, health care leaders and CHP ask the faith community to help preserve our healthcare resources and slow the community spread of COVID-19 by strongly considering wearing masks in church.
COVID-19 continues to surge across the state with group gatherings being a major source of serious community spread. Today Governor Reynolds asked all Iowans to “consider how their choice to adhere to public health mitigation strategies impacts the spread of COVID-19 in their family and community.” The Governor signed a new proclamation imposing a number of additional public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These new measures will be effective at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, November 11 and will continue until 11:59 p.m. on November 30, 2020.
As cases of COVID-19 continue to surge with serious community spread, please consider how your actions will impact—or protect—others in the community. Please do all you can to prevent the spread of COVID-19 so we can protect our vulnerable community members, keep our students in school and our businesses open, and prevent overwhelming our health care systems.
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is making a change on quarantine recommendations for people that have been exposed to a positive case of COVID-19. This applies in non-healthcare, non-residential settings only. This includes businesses, education and child care settings.
Close contacts of COVID-positive cases will no longer need to quarantine for 14 days if a face covering was worn consistently and correctly by the positive case and close contacts. The positive case must isolate. The close contacts should self-monitor.
Self-monitoring entails close monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms over the subsequent 14 days, staying home if any symptoms develop, and speaking with a healthcare provider about COVID-19 testing in the case of any illness.
If people who are self-monitoring become ill but do not get tested, they should remain home until 10 days after symptom onset.
People currently in quarantine may be released from quarantine if a face covering was worn consistently and correctly by the positive case and close contacts during exposure.
If the positive case wore a face covering, but close contacts did not, those close contacts must be quarantined.
If the positive case did not wear a face covering, close contacts must quarantine whether or not they wore a face covering.
Quarantine of close contacts will still be necessary in residential and healthcare settings.
Masks are proven to be effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Increased mask use will reduce the number of individuals that need to quarantine. Along with wearing a face covering, we ask that everyone continue all recommended public health strategies:
Stay home when sick.
Maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet whenever possible.
Wash hands frequently.
This approach is based on data and focused feedback from community and school leaders over the past month indicating that transmission is not frequently occurring when both parties are wearing face coverings consistently and correctly. Additionally, we are aware of other jurisdictions, including Nebraska and Wyoming, that have made similar changes based on experiences in their states. We will continue to make recommendations based on best available information and adjust when needed.
Sioux County is currently experiencing a number of additional COVID-19 cases. We urge every resident to take steps to protect the health of themselves and their families. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Avoid gatherings. Stay at least six feet away from others at all times. Wear a mask or face covering when you have to be around others. Older people and those with underlying health conditions like heart problems, diabetes, or obesity are at increased risk of serious complications from this virus, so they should take extra precautions. If you’re sick, stay home.
Since there is no vaccine for this virus, you are the best weapon we have in slowing the spread of this disease.
As our local schools open and fall activities begin, the Sioux County Board of Health asks that everyone in Sioux County take an active role in reducing the spread of Covid-19 in our community.
Based on guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Sioux County Board of Health recommends that individuals and visitors in Sioux County:
Wear a cloth face covering in public and when around people who do not live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Face coverings should cover your nose and mouth. Masks should not be worn by children under the age of 2 or by anyone who has trouble breathing or would be unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Distance yourself at least 6 feet apart from others, when possible. Covid-19 spreads most often among people who are in close contact.
Stay home when you are ill.
Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow.
Wash your hands frequently.
Clean frequently touched surfaces.
Consider your level of risk before attending group activities.
Sioux County Board of Health
Dr. Lee Kamstra, Chairperson
Jeanene Kuiper, Vice Chairperson
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Sioux County Public Health (Community Health Partners/CHP) have identified 4 positive resident cases of COVID-19 at Prairie Ridge Care Center a long-term care facility in Sioux County. According to IDPH, an outbreak occurs when three or more cases of COVID-19 are identified among residents of a facility.
The facility has notified residents and their families, and consistent with IDPH guidelines, the affected residents are in isolation. Prairie Ridge staff are working closely with IDPH and CHP to protect the health of all residents and staff, with additional testing of residents and staff as directed by IDPH.
“Protecting the health and wellbeing of the residents and staff is the highest priority of Prairie Ridge and CHP,” said Sioux County Public Health (CHP) Director, Kim Westerholm. “We know our older population is at the highest risk for serious COVID-19 illness, so we and Prairie Ridge are monitoring the situation carefully and taking the highest precautions to prevent virus spread.”
As of today, 7/30, there are 575 total cases of COVID-19 in Sioux County. CHP continues to work closely with IDPH, and other state and local partners to respond to this ongoing pandemic.
For up-to-date information on COVID-19, including an interactive map with county, regional and long-term care outbreak information, visit: coronavirus.iowa.gov
The immunization clinic scheduled for March 19th from 2:30-5:00 p.m. has been cancelled. Click here for more information on where you can receive shots for your child. For questions, please call (712) 737.2971, or email [email protected].
Sioux County Public Health is advising community members about what they can do now to prepare for the potential spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19.
Sioux County Public Health will continue to work with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and with our local partners.
In the meantime, community members should prepare for the potential of COVID-19 in the same way they prepare for severe weather or other events that could disrupt their normal routine. For example: What would you do if you could not go to work or school because of illness? What if your daycare provider was ill? How would you get groceries if you were ill?
Everyone can help prevent the spread of all viruses, including influenza and coronavirus (COVID-19) in the following ways:
Wash your hands often with soap and water
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Stay home when you are sick
Cover your mouth with your upper arm or tissue when coughing or sneezing
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
For a printable poster with this information in English and Spanish, click here.