Joint Statement from Mercyone Dubuque Medical Center and UnityPoint Health - Finley Hospital, October 22, 2020

60 New Cases and Record-High Hospitalizations in Dubuque County, 1,401 New Cases and 16 Deaths Statewide

"As is reflected in recent public health department reports, we are continuing to see an increase in COVID-19 related hospitalizations and people testing positive in Dubuque County and across Iowa, particularly in the last few weeks.

While our hospitals are experiencing the highest level of COVID-19 related hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic, the hospitals are not yet at capacity and remain prepared to care for all those in need. We must act now to lower the transmission rates. It is critical that we work together as a community to take the steps we know can reduce the spread of COVID-19. We continue to encourage community members to wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing, limit group gatherings and practice good hand hygiene and sanitizing to minimize the spread of the virus.

In addition, the timing of this new wave of COVID-19 cases in our community coincides with the annual influenza season. It is more important than ever to get your flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend all people six months and older get flu vaccinations to protect themselves and others from getting influenza.

Hospitals and clinics are safe, and our providers are here to take care of you. It’s important to keep routine appointments and seek treatment for acute medical conditions.

We need everyone to take this seriously to slow the spread. Together, we can protect ourselves, our families and our neighbors."

Latest White House Task Force Report

The Oct. 18 report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force again lists Iowa, Dubuque County, and Dubuque as red zones.  Dubuque County is one of 49 red zone counties in the state and Dubuque is one of 10 red zone localities.

  • Iowa is in the red zone for cases, indicating 101 or more new cases per 100,000 population last week, with the 8th highest rate in the country. Iowa is in the orange zone for test positivity, indicating a rate between 8.0% and 10.0%, with the 9th highest rate in the country.
  • The following three counties had the highest number of new cases over the last 3 weeks: 1. Polk County, 2. Woodbury County, and 3. Dubuque County. These counties represent 22.6% of new cases in Iowa.
  • 90% of all counties in Iowa have moderate or high levels of community transmission (yellow, orange, or red zones), with 49% having high levels of community transmission (red zone).
  • Iowa had 238 new cases per 100,000 population in the last week, compared to a national average of 117 per 100,000.

Recommendations in the report include:

  • Mitigation efforts must be strengthened in areas with increasing cases and test positivity. These should including mask wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, avoiding crowds in public and social gatherings in private, and ensuring flu immunizations.
  • In red and orange counties, both public and private gatherings should be as small as possible and optimally, not extend beyond immediate family.
  • With 26% of nursing homes reporting at least one COVID positive staff member, work with nursing homes to trace exposures of positive staff to decrease introduction of community transmission to nursing homes.
  • In rural communities, highlight the increase in new hospital admissions so residents can do their part to slow the spread.
  • Ensure university students continue their mitigation behaviors to ensure no further outbreaks on or off campus as symptomatic cases and cases identified through surveillance testing decline.
  • Encourage use of retail establishments that are enforcing mitigation efforts.

Read the full report at:

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