Members of the Wayne County Board of Health met on Dec. 2 where Public Health Administrator Shelley Bickel noted as of that morning there were 352 confirmed COVID positive cases within the county with 22 being active. A total of 17 deaths have been confirmed due to COVID within the county.

“We are waiting for the vaccine and I am told it is going to be shipped out  the week of December 14,” said Bickel. “Nobody knows who is getting what. I don’t know if we are going to get that first Phizer one because it has to be frozen.”

“I am working with Daren [Relph CEO of Wayne County Hospital] to get the numbers in place, and it will be shipped directly to the hospital,” Bickel continued. “You have to be signed up to give the vaccine and the people signed up in Wayne County are WCPH, WCH, the clinic and Your Neighborhood Pharmacy. Every week there will be a shipment is what I am being told so I am expecting three shipments in the month of December and we have a list of who we are supposed to get it to first.”

Bickel noted Wayne County Public Health is one of only 30 offices still continuing to handle COVID cases at the local level while the remainder of counties have turned over contact tracing to the state.

“The CDC is going to change quarantine and the number of days you are quarantined for close contacts,” Bickel stated. “You can either be on quarantine for seven days or 10 days. If it is seven days you need to get a test. If you get a test and it is negative then you can be released from quarantine. If you choose not to get a test then it is 10 days.”

Bickel noted it may be difficult as some tests are sent to Iowa City with results taking longer and it would require quarantine continue until results are received. She noted the new guidelines will increase testing.

“Nobody wants to be quarantined for 14 days,” said Dr. Joel Wells. “Nobody wants to be isolated for 10 days. If we shorten it, everybody will be happy. More information is coming out on it.”

“At the hospital and clinic we have enough community spread we have a steady number of COVID patients that are being admitted, but it is not overwhelming at this time,” added Dr. Wells. “Our ability to transfer critically ill patients is still limited. What is going on in metro areas still affects us a lot, so the idea we can send anybody to Des Moines for critical care, we are not able to do that. We get put on waiting lists and we have to constantly call.”

The BOH will meet again Wednesday, Jan. 20 unless numbers arise rapidly again calling for meeting at earlier date. 

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