Now What?

By Dr. Michele Dikkers, Physician at Cornerstone Family Practice and GMHC, Chair of Clayton County Board of Health

As I sat down and began to think about what COVID-19 information I could include in this week’s article, the phone started ringing. Now that’s what I call an answer to a question. I had not yet sent up a prayer, and there was the answer. “Have you read the latest White House Task Force report? What do we do now?”

The White House Task Force has listed Clayton County among one of the 28 Iowa counties considered to be “in the Red Zone”. The Red Zone is considered an area in which the number of cases has risen in the past week above 100 per 100,000 and positivity rates above 10%. They look at the numbers for the week and over the past three weeks.

The White House Task Force considers the whole State of Iowa as being in the Red Zone. In fact, regarding the more than 100 cases per 100,000 statistic, Iowa (232 vs a national average of 88) has the highest rate in the country and the 5th highest positivity rate. Rural and urban counties in Iowa continue to have increases in cases and test positivity.

The task force has stated “Common sense preventive measures must be implemented to stop further spread.”

They have made recommendations for our county and state to follow.

– Wear a mask at al times outside the home AND maintain physical distance (The task force recommends a mask mandate state wide.)

– Limit social gatherings to 10 people or fewer in red zones (and to 25 in yellow zones)

– Do not go to bars, nightclubs or gyms (The task force recommends closure of bars and reduction of seating in restaurants to 50% in yellow zones and 25% in red zones)

– Use take-out or eat outdoors socially distanced

– Wash hands frequently

– Clean high traffic surfaces frequently

– Reduce your public interactions and activities to 25% of your normal activity

– Ensure all business retailers and personal services require masks and socially distance

We all worry about our economy and fear a new shutdown. If we WEAR MASKS at all times outside the home, avoid mass gatherings, and if business retailers wear masks, we can safely shop and keep our economy open.

It truly is up to us, each one of us.

The Governor has said all along, she believes Iowans will “do the right thing”.

So? Now what?

Wear a mask.

Remember, we are all in this together.


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