BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – The Lee County Board of Health released a statement today “strongly” requesting that all large-scale events planned for the county be canceled.
The advisory comes just two days before the start of the high school fall sports seasons, and just two weeks before the Tri-State Rodeo is set to kick off at Rodeo Park in Fort Madison.
County health officials said the county has seen a 441% increase of COVID-19 cases from July through August with a 14.2% positivity rating over the past 14 days. That percentage is calculated by taking the total number of people tested divided by the number of positive tests over the 14-day period.
“This surge in cases has already impacted many families, businesses, schools, worksites, and our local health care systems. We are asking for community leaders and event planners to seriously consider the risks involved to the health of the community and make informed decisions about planned large scale events still scheduled,” said Michele Ross, Administrator of LCHD.
Twenty additional positive cases were reported to Lee County Health Department in the past 24 hours for a total of 298 total positive cases to date. That number, for the first time, now is the same as is being reported on the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website at coronavirus.iowa.gov.
Due to differences in reporting time frames and delays in getting positive case reporting through the various agencies, daily positive tests still are not congruent between the two reporting agencies. However, the 14-day positivity rate and the total cases as of Wednesday are the same.
According to the press release Wednesday, “LCHD reminds everyone, now more than ever, it is very important to maintain a 6-foot social distance from people outside of your own household whenever possible, mask up, wash your hands frequently, and stay home if you are ill or have symptoms.”
LCHD officials remind the public if you have tested positive you must stay home for at least 10 days from the start of symptoms, until symptoms have improved and you are fever free without fever reducing medicine.
Those exposed to someone who tested positive must follow public health recommendations to stay home for a 14-day period from the date of exposure.
“Lee County Board of Health and LCHD has and still strongly requests that all large-scale events planned in Lee County to be cancelled. Attending events where crowds of people are gathering and not social distancing is highly discouraged,” according to the release.
The public and event planners need to be aware of the requirements in the current Governor’s public health proclamation for Mass Gatherings under Section Three pursuant to Iowa Code 135.144(3) which reads:
A social, community, recreational, leisure or sporting gathering or event, including but not limited to a parade, festival, farmers market, auction, convention or fundraiser, of more than ten people may be held, but only if the gathering complies with all other relevant provisions in the Proclamation and the following requirements:
Social Distancing: The gathering organizer must ensure at least six feet of physical distance between each group or individual attending alone.
Other Social Distancing, hygiene and public health measures
LCHD will continue to report daily case counts on their Facebook page and website.
“We will be reporting the number of new cases, the number of total cases, total number of recovered cases, and the 14-day average positivity rate,” added Ross.
“We feel this information gives the best snapshot of what is currently taking place in Lee County.” If someone is interested in additional information, they can visit the Iowa Coronavirus website which provides greater details on county and state demographics. LCHD’s daily chart should be posted around 3:30 pm Monday through Friday with weekend numbers being included in Monday’s report.