County health care professionals and others have formulated a plan and are ready when the virus surfaces in Madison County, officials stated in a joint press release this week.

“County public health, the health care system, emergency management, local elected leaders, the school district, EMS, and local law enforcement are ... working together to keep residents safe,” it stated.

Experts say those wanting additional information can check out the The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) web site: idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus. 

The site is updated on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 

Citizens can see the latest numbers of confirmed cases and quarantine statistics within the state.

Believe you may have been exposed?

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, call Madison County Health Care System at 515-462-2950 or Madison County Public Health 515-462-9051. A medical professional will speak with you and provide special instructions. 

Other public resources available include The Center for Acute Disease Epidemiology (CADE), a bureau within the IDPH, which can be reached by calling 1-800-362-2736, and 2-1-1, a phone-based resource database.

Cleanliness leads to healthiness

The best way to protect yourself and loved ones from the virus is to wash your hands often and thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds (you can sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself twice while scrubbing).

Sanitizing gel can be used if soap and water are not available. Soap and water are the preferred method  whenever possible. 

Cover coughs and sneezes with your sleeve, elbow, or a tissue. Used tissues should be disposed of immediately after use.

If you have been exposed and have to dispose of your tissues, keep the tissues in a separate container and contact authorities about proper disposal. DO NOT include the tissues in the regular garbage.

If you are sick, contain germs by staying home. 

Experts advise: “this is not the time to ‘tough it out’. If you are sick don’t go to work, go to school, go shopping, etc. DO NOT return to normal activities until you are fever-free without any fever controlling medication (Tylenol, ibuprofen, etc.) for 24 hours.”

Expanded best practices and more information may be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html.

Madison County Health Care System (MCHCS) is monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and is working closely with relevant state and local officials. 

They have special precautions in place to safely treat patients with especially contagious diseases, including COVID-19. Among the precautions include negative airflow rooms that isolate contagious germs during treatment; protective equipment for staff; special cleaning and disinfecting protocol; and extensive emergency planning. The leadership of MCHCS has met daily to discuss COVID-19 development and implement heightened precautions as necessary.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of the virus including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, along with risk factors like recent travel to an area where COVID-19 is widespread or close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should call before coming to the facility

Visitors to MCHCS will notice prominent signage at each public entrance with the same message.

The hospital laboratory has been in communication with the State Hygienic Lab to ensure it is prepared to conduct necessary COVID-19 tests.

Experts say medical staff has been provided with guidance for screening and treating potential COVID-19 patients. Staff receives daily updates to inform them of COVID-19 developments and any new organizational policies that may affect them.

Currently, the hospital is enforcing visitor restrictions on its Med/Surg floor. 

Visitors will be allowed, however, numbers will be limited, as well as other restrictions. 

Anyone wishing to visit a patient who would like more information is asked to call the facility at 515-462-2373.