New COVID-19 cases confirmed in Dickinson County

Tuesday, May 19, 2020
File photo

This story has been updated to reflect an eighth confirmed case in Dickinson County that was reported early Wednesday, May 20.

Iowa Department of Public Health officials on Monday identified a seventh positive case of COVID-19 in Dickinson County. The positive test came from a female, age 60-80. Local health officials were also informed of another positive case in the area around 7 a.m. Wednesday, May 20. The county's eighth case is a female between the ages of 45-60. Both of the new cases are recovering at home, but health officials said they do not know where the individuals contracted the virus.

"Thankfully, positives have been sporadic, but they serve as a reminder to wear a mask at all times when you are not able to socially distance, such as in fitness centers, grocery stores and home improvement stores," Brandon Rohrig, director of Dickinson County Population and Public Health said. "The restrictions have relaxed, but the virus is still here and will continue to be here, so we ask people to please stay vigilant."

The county's first case was identified March 26 involving a man between the ages of 61 and 80.

The second case was identified April 19 involving an adult male between the ages of 18-40.

The third Dickinson County case was identified locally on Monday, April 20, by an out-of-county test and was also a male between the ages of 18-40.

The county's fourth case was diagnosed Wednesday, April 22, involving a male patient between the ages of 60-80.

The LRH staff learned Friday morning April 24, about a fifth Dickinson County case a female, also age 60-80.

The six local case was identified April 26. She also was a female age 60-80 who lives in the county.

Pool photo by Kelsey Kremer

State testing validated

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Thursday the state's COVID-19 test initiative Test Iowa was validated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control on Wednesday, May 13. She told reporters the State Hygienic Lab's tests were shown to be 95 percent accurate in detecting positive cases of the novel coronavirus, and 99.7 percent accurate in detecting negative cases. The governor said the validation process usually requires five positive samples to be confirmed by the CDC, but the state lab chose to confirm 100 positive samples to earn its validation.

"They went above and beyond to make sure that Iowans had the comfort level, and that we had the comfort level, that we needed in utilizing Test Iowa," Reynolds said.

The initiative was launched April 21 in partnership with Nomi Health and DOMO. The two companies had helped launch a similar initiative in Utah. The $26 million contract with Nomi Health and DOMO gained the state access to some 500,000 FDA approved tests, according to Reynolds. Federal funding from the CARES Act was used to cover some of the cost.

"Test Iowa is a big part of our long-term recovery plan," Reynolds said, later saying the state's testing saw an 800 percent increase over a period of two months. "We could not have expanded our capacity to this level this quickly without this opportunity."

The state has set up seven drive-thru Test Iowa sites across the state so far, and another is expected to open in Storm Lake on Saturday. Other locations include Des Moines, Sioux City, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Denison, Davenport and Ottumwa. The state is also in the process of establishing a Test Iowa call center for added efficiency.

"Now that the lab has completed the validation process, we expect more tests will be processed more quickly and your results will be delivered on a timely basis," Reynolds said.

The governor also told reporters the state has the ability to run about 5,000 tests each day an estimated 3,000 through the Test Iowa sites and at least 2,000 through the state lab. Iowans can see if they qualify for testing by taking an online assessment through Test Iowa, or through their local health provider who may recommend testing or possibly administer a test themselves. More than 89,000 Iowans or one out of every 35 have been tested to date, according to state numbers, and the governor said parameters to qualify for Test Iowa will be less strict now that the tests have been validated by the CDC.

"The State Hygienic Lab is keeping theirs a little bit more narrow because we want to make sure, if we would happen to see a spike, that we would have adequate test supplies there too," Reynolds said.

As of Thursday, the statewide positive cases numbered 13,675, with 6,231 recovered and 318 dead. The state's elderly population continues to be the most at risk of fatal complications from the virus especially those in long-term care facilities. Sarah Reisetter, deputy director at the Iowa Department of Public Health, said 180 or 57 percent of the deaths so far have been residents of long-term care facilities. She said there have been 35 confirmed outbreaks in such facilities statewide. Reisetter went on to say the state had reached out to care facilities before the first outbreak occurred to put mitigation and response measures in place. Some 9,000 tests have been sent to long-term care facilities since May 1, according to the governor, in addition to more targeted efforts when hotspots of viral activity are recorded. Reisetter said 95 percent of Iowa's 400-plus care facilities have taken advantage of testing.

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