SIOUX CITY, Iowa — We've reached the end of the deadliest five-day stretch in Woodbury County since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Siouxland District Health department confirmed one new death Friday, bringing our total deaths this week to 9 and our overall total to 26. That means nearly one-third of Woodbury County's deaths have come in just the past five days.
The county also adding 20 new cases since Thursday night for a total of 2,468.
The Siouxland District Health Department says the number of people tested in the county continues to rise and the number of new cases is on a downward trend.
Siouxland District Health Department has identified the following two indicators to use for measurement in making decisions related to what mitigation strategies should be continued. This is intended to serve as a guideline to re-opening services while mitigating the risk of a resurgence of the COVID-19 illness and to protect our vulnerable populations. This data reflects Woodbury County only.
The case report indicator is intended to identify communities experiencing sustained decreases in the number of new cases occurring each day; an indication of decreases in disease transmission.
Percent positive is calculated as number of positive tests for the week divided by the total test results reported for the week, with total test results defined as the sum of positive and negative tests. Laboratory test percent positive can be used in combination with, or as an alternative to, observing a decline in new case reports. In circumstances where testing is adequate and testing practices are largely stable, percent positive can be a reliable indicator of COVID-19 activity.
About 10% of the county's population has now been tested and while more cases are being identified, there are fewer new cases each day than there were at the start of the month. They say that's clear when you look at the weekly tracking data, which is now what they're analyzing to track the spread of the virus locally.
"That's still a lot of cases, it doesn't mean we're out of the woods yet but what it shows, we're looking in moving in a positive direction, and what I would remind to the residents is this is due to their diligent work and some of the responsibilities that they have shoulders as residents of Woodbury County," said Kevin Grieme, Director of the Siouxland District Health Dept. "We looked at some of the restrictions that we have, our businesses are opening up and that type of stuff. We think it's important that the residents understand that they've had an impact on what it is."
They say the downward trend is also clear in the percentage of positive tests which peaked at nearly half of all tests at the end of April but is down to around 16%.
Two local fire departments also gave an update on the impact of the pandemic on their work.
May 17-23, 2020 is the 46th annual National EMS Week. This week, first authorized in 1974, celebrates EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation’s communities.
Sioux City Fire Rescue says they have not had any members test positive for COVID-19 and are taking precautions ahead of each call to prepare, like having dispatch ask questions when someone calls the emergency line to see if they are COVID-positive or have been exposed. SCFR says they are utilizing PPE for all first responders to keep both themselves and the public safe.
"We are fortunate that none of our frontline responders have been COVID-19 to date, despite the numerous calls they have responded to involving potentially or confirmed COVID patients," said Sioux City Fire Marshal, Mark Aesoph.
Sioux City Fire Rescue answers approximately 25 medical emergencies per day and has transported close to 14,000 patients since taking over the 911 ambulance service in Sioux City on January 1, 2018. This involved hiring 27 new employees to staff our EMS Ambulance Section. In December 2019, SCFR was accredited through the Council on Accreditation of Ambulance Services, a mere 23 months after taking over this important role.
In Sergeant Bluff, they are also seeing the impact of COVID-19 on their community. They've made smaller emergency response kits to help cut down on sanitization times after calls. Fire Chief Anthony Gaul says he is thankful for the help they've received from the public.
"We are grateful for the Emergency Operations Center being able to get us face masks now, to add with the full set of coveralls, the boot covers, the N95 masks and the glasses," sais Fire Chief Anthony Gaul.
Meanwhile, the Siouxland District Health Department will not be providing a report this weekend, they will resume on Tuesday, May 26th, after Memorial Day weekend.
Web articles from my time at Siouxland News.