COVID-19 continues to be the focus of daily life both inside and outside Jackson County Regional Health Center.  As a community, we are moving into the next phase of this pandemic and are still not sure how we should feel or act at this time.  Some people are glad that restrictions are being lifted and we can dine in restaurants and shop at our favorite stores. Others are concerned that the easing the restrictions that we have been living amidst since mid-March are occurring too soon.  Whatever your feelings are, there are several important factors to keep in mind as move through this global pandemic.

As businesses begin to open and restrictions are loosened, please continue take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.  It is still best to practice social distancing by staying 6 feet apart, washing your hands often and to consider wearing a cloth mask in in close proximity to others.  If you choose not to wear a mask in public, please respect others and maintain a distance of at least 6 feet.  If you are ill, please stay home.  If you have underlying health conditions or at high risk for COVID-19, please continue to stay home.  Gatherings of less than 10 people continue to be the guidance.  When going to the store, it is best to only have one person per family entering to help limit the number of people in each store.

According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.  People with these symptoms or combination of symptoms may have COVID-19:  cough or shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.  The CDC also recently expanded the symptom list for COVID-19 to include fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell.  If you have two of the previous symptoms, this is an indication you should follow up with your primary care physician regarding a treatment plan.

COVID-19 continues to circulate throughout the United States and while there is no longer a recommendation to self-isolate for 14 days upon return to Iowa (as long as the traveler remains well and has not been identified as a close contact of an ill individual), the Iowa Department of Public Health suggests the following recommendations.  When traveling and upon your return home, clean your hands often with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer.  Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.  Avoid close contact with others and keep a 6-foot distance from others, especially if you are at higher risk of getting sick from COVID-19.  Wear a cloth face covering when in public and cover coughs and sneezes.

The COVID-19 situation is ongoing and ever changing.  Please stay up to date with the current recommendations by following the Iowa Department of Public Health and CDC guidance.  We are truly “in this together”.

Take care of yourselves!
Nin Flagel, Paramedic and Jackson County Board of Health Representative

Jennifer Stender, RN, Quality Specialist, Jackson County Regional Health Center

Members of the Local Emergency Planning Committee