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Vaccine key to reducing COVID

Govenor says decrease in cases may point to trend but too early to be sure

By Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer | Nov 25, 2020

Emmet County went into Thanksgiving with 259 active cases of COVID-19, down from a high of 269 on Monday. The county surpassed 700 cases for a total of 710 positive cases reported Wednesday. Emmet County has also reached 500 and 600 cases in November. Test Iowa sites were set to close for Thanksgiving and reopen on Friday. Emmet County reports 23 people have lost their lives to the virus since the first case was reported here May 13. Saturday, Emmet County reached its highest positivity rate at 49.08% for a 14-day rolling positivity. As of Wednesday the rolling positivity decreased slightly to 47.35%. Also as of Wednesday, 428 patients had recovered.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds discussed testing, personal protective equipment concerns, vaccines, and other topics related to COVID-19 in the state during a briefing on Tuesday.

The state has seen a decrease in overall hospitalizations from COVID-19 starting November 18, with the total count down around 200 patients from its peak. However, the slight decrease comes after the state set a new record almost every day of November. Additionally, the count of patients in intensive care units and on ventilators have stayed near their record highs.

“These are positive signs, but it’s too early to know if it’s indicators of a trend,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds also spoke about the COVID-19 vaccine and said it could be made available in the “upcoming weeks.”

Reynolds said she has cancelled her family’s Thanksgiving gathering. “Consider the amount of planning that typically goes into the holidays, from preparing our family’s favorite meals to purchasing special gifts from those we love,” Reynolds said. “This year, I ask that you put that same time and effort into keeping your family healthy this holiday season, which may mean having to adjust your traditions.”

A report from the White House Coronavirust Task Force suggested that with strong mitigation efforts, the state could move to the yellow zone with a reduced rate of infection in four to five weeks, presenting some chance that Christmas and New Year’s celebrations could have slightly fewer restrictions.

Reynolds encouraged Iowans to donate to local food banks ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday as well as convalescent plasma for those suffering from COVID-19.

A vaccine for coronavirus could come soon. University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has taken steps to accommodate whichever COVID-19 vaccine candidate they get.

They formed a committee a couple months ago to plan for a vaccine, including how they would store it.

It is important to note the supply of the vaccine will be limited at first, and the order of who receives it when it gets to Iowa, could actually vary by county.

Dr. Rob Humble, a 2008 graduate of Estherville Lincoln Central High School, said his work in the pathology department of University of Iowa Hospitals means he is involved with COVID testing, reviewing lab tests for COVID patients and performing autopsies on patients who have died from COVID. The Estherville News will have insight from Dr. Humble and from Emmet County residents with personal experience with COVID in upcoming issues of the newspaper.