As the coronavirus continues to spread, two new cases reported in Allamakee County; School closings recommended for next four weeks

Last Update: March 19, 2020

Reported Cases by County

Total: 38

Information from www.idph.iowa.gov

March 19, 2020

There are now 38 total reported cases in the state of Iowa. For more information and an up-to-date report by county visit www.idph.iowa.gov.

 

March 16, 2020

With 23 cases of the coronavirus, known as Covid-19, now confirmed in Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds has recommended that all schools in the state close for four weeks in an effort to slow down the spread of the virus. Two of the new cases have been confirmed in Allamakee County, with one being a child under the age of 18. As of press time, all schools in the area have been closed. While Postville is closed on a day-to-day basis,  Allamakee Schools, Waukon and MFL MarMac have been closed until further notice.

Currently, Postville Childcare Services, Inc. is open; however, the preschool is closed on a day-to-day basis.

The Postville Public Library is also closed until further notice.

Watch for further postponements and cancellations on our Facebook page and in upcoming issues of the Herald.

All extra-curricular activities, including sports, music, drama, and more, have been suspended until further notice. The Northeast Iowa Recreation and Wellness Center has announced its closure on a day-to-day basis as well.

In a letter shared with all families in the district, Postville Superintendent of Schools Tim Dugger said, “The school district is working closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) to ensure the safety of all of  our students and staff.”

Among the facts shared in the letter were:

How the virus spreads

Covid-19 is believed to spread the same way the common cold or flu spreads, through respiratory droplets that are produced when someone sneezes or coughs. 

People who are most at risk of becoming infected are those who have come in close contact (within six feet) with someone who has the disease. People are thought to be most contagious  when they are most symtomatic.

What can be done

Stay home when sick. Teach  children always to cover their cough and sneezes with a tissue or elbow. Remind children to wash their hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer, after they touch their face, use the restroom or before they eat. Advise children to avoid touching their mouth and nose since that is how germs get into the body. Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects with disinfectant wipes, especially high touch surfaces especially door knobs, toilet handles and sink handles.

Mr. Dugger added, “We are working closely with Allamakee Public Health to keep abreast of the latest developments. The Iowa Department of Health and Allamakee Public Health will help us make decisions regarding extended school closures. The district is working to keep the building sanitized and cleaned. This is a continuing process for the school.”

News from the Northeast Iowa Food Bank

The Northeast Iowa Food Bank, announced Thursday it would continue its mission of serving those in need.

Barb Prather, executive director of the facility said, “Through our Feeding America network of experts, our team at Northeast Iowa Food Bank has been able to develop preventative measures plan that is based heavily on rigorous food-safety training and accreditations to implement what many are now coming to learn as universal best practices when these situations arise.”

The food bank supplies area pantries including Postville Community Support, which will continue to be open each Tuesday afternoon. The food bank also serves the Greater Area Pantry in Calmar.

College closures

Luther College has joined other Iowa Colleges and Universities in moving to an online content delivery.  

“In a proactive step protecting the health and safety of students, faculty and staff, as well as the most vulnerable members of our campus and local communities, Luther College  is moving to distance learning formats March 30 through April 9 following Spring Break,” a press release from the college announced Thursday.  The campus will remain open to faculty and staff and dining services and student support services will also remain open.

Upper Iowa University students, who attend the Fayette campus, are being asked to stay away from campus for an additional week. Online courses were set to start on time. Classroom instruction is being delayed until March 23.

The following statement was received from Northeast Iowa Community College.  

“Governor Reynolds has asked schools to suspend face-to-face classes. Please note the following actions for Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC): All face-to-face classes and related activities (e.g., clinical, labs) are cancelled from Monday, March 16, 2020 to Friday, March 20, 2020.

Online classes will continue as scheduled.

NICC campuses and centers will remain open with staff reporting to work as scheduled.

NICC Child Development Centers will remain open.

NICC actively prepares for a variety of scenarios that could impact our students, staff, and surrounding communities. This is not the first health situation to potentially impact our NICC community. When the United States experienced an outbreak of H1N1 virus over a decade ago, a response plan was prepared to serve as a guide for evolving situations.

Realizing that precautions can make a big impact on the spread of a virus, tactics such as the continued emphasis on preventative measures include daily disinfection of college areas. All persons who are not well are encouraged to stay home. The College will continue to monitor evolving situations in our communities. The College campuses are open for regularly scheduled activities and events.”

(Editor’s Note: Mike Hohenbrink, Editor of the Calmar Courier also contributed to this story.)