Henry County Emergency Management Coordinator, Walt Jackson and Public Health Director Shelley Van Dorin have been getting enough questions about the coronavirus that they decided to hold a Henry County Pandemic meeting. Representatives from county governments, schools, care facilities, emergency response agencies along with law enforcement, utilities and even Veterans Affairs met Tuesday morning.
Jackson and Van Dorin shared the latest information from the Iowa Department of Public Health about the virus and answered questions. Van Dorin said the IDPH and the CDC are the most reliable sources, not social media. Her advice is to check websites for both agencies every day in order to stay updated because this is an ever changing situation. She said to continue to ask questions and ask for guidance. Iowa Public Health has established 211 as a number for the public to call.
Other information shared during the meeting…
Cleaning recommendations…once a day use clorax wipes or other disinfectant to wipe down counter tops, door handles, etc.
Employers should encourage sick employees to stay home without repercussions.Van Dorin did acknowledge that the 14 day self quarantine could be a hardship for employers and employees.
HCHC has the capacity to do the testing according to CEO Robb Gardner, if ordered. The IDPH has strict protocol for doing the test. An individual would have to be tested first for influenza A & B.
Self isolation is on the honor system and only a suggestion not an order unless it has been determined an individual has returned from China or Iran and has tested positive.
Right now it’s up to facilities like care centers and hospitals whether or not to limit visitors. No IDPH recommendations on this have been issued yet. HCHC is considering tightening visiting restrictions but if that happens it doesn’t mean they have cases of Covid 19. Both Jackson and Van Dorin said it’s important to be informed, and prepared but the worst thing we can do is incite fear.
If the situation in Henry County changes the group will come together again.