Black Hawk County addresses first coronavirus case, preserving resources

BLACK HAWK COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) — Following the announcement of the first COVID-19 case in the area, Black Hawk County officials released what little information they could under guidance from the state and health privacy laws.

The victim is confirmed to be a person 81 years or older who contracted the virus through travel, according to information gathered from the county and the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Currently, the Black Hawk County Health Department are investigating if and how that individual could have spread the disease in the community. Because community spread has been identified in Iowa, Amy McCoy, a spokesperson for the IDPH specifically dealing with COVID-19, says the agency will stop focusing on the travel factor.

Throughout Wednesday’s briefings and the Black Hawk County Board of Health work session was the topic of testing. Currently, the county is following requirements put in place by the state that a person must meet to be tested for COVID-19. The providers urged the public to remain calm.

“Everyone wants to be tested. I would just feel better if I was tested. Testing does not cure the disease,” said Dr Sharon Duclos, the Peoples Community Health Clinic Medical Director.

The Black Hawk County Public Health Director, Dr. Nafissa Cisse Egbuonye, said what they’re recommending could also be applied to a positive case.

“We’re already recommending what would be recommended for a positive test situation so that’s why we recommend for people to stay home when they’re feeling sick, even with mild symptoms to just stay home,” Dr Egbuonye said.

Those recommendations continue to be wash your hands, stay home if sick, and cover your cough. Dr. Egbuonye said someone with COVID-19 is the most contagious when they have symptoms with a fever.

During the first briefing, news broke that President Trump enacted the Defense Production Act to request the private sector to produce necessary supplies to combat the spread of the virus. A major concern this week nationally was the amount of ventilators available.

“We are secure as far as our resources as far as ventilator use is concerned, both MercyOne and Allen have basically looked at what our resources are in our community,” said Dr. Russel Adams, the Chief Medical Officer for UnityPoint Health’s Allen Hospital in Waterloo.

Dr. Adams said they’ve also worked with critical access facilities in rural areas to ensure they are prepared as well. Both UnityPoint Health and MercyOne have suspended elective surgeries in the area.

More information from Black Hawk County can be found at

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