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COVID Cases on the Rise in Shelby County: Call to Action to Reduce Local Spread of the Coronavirus

  • Category: News
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  • Written By: Myrtue Medical Center
COVID Cases on the Rise in Shelby County: Call to Action to Reduce Local Spread of the Coronavirus

In the month of October, Shelby County has seen a 49% increase in COVID cases for a total number of 131 cases in this month alone. On October 29th, there were 17 new positive cases in just one day. Based upon Myrtue’s Public Health disease investigation, family gatherings, weddings and funerals have been common sources of general community transmission. “We have seen a sharp increase in hospitalizations in the last three weeks,” said Barry Jacobsen, Myrtue Medical Center CEO. Hospitals in Omaha and Des Moines have also seen an increase in hospitalizations. At some point, the need for hospital beds may outpace bed availability if this trend continues.

In response to the current COVID surge, Myrtue’s Public Health, Myrtue Medical Center and Shelby County Board of Health urge Shelby County residents to wear masks and practice social distancing when in public and in work settings. “Research has shown that these measures are effective in reducing the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 illness,” said Dr. Anderson, Shelby County Board of Health Medical Director. “This is a critical time for our community that calls for a united response. By simply using these preventive measures, we can significantly reduce transmission of the virus and keep critical hospital beds available to meet our local healthcare needs,” said Jacobsen.

Increasing community transmission means a higher risk of COVID infection for vulnerable individuals, including children and adults with pre-existing health conditions and senior members of the community. Long-term care facilities are particularly vulnerable when community transmission rates increase. Cass, Harrison, and now Shelby County are currently facing outbreaks in local nursing homes, some with a devastating loss of life. “We all depend on each other to practice preventive measures that reduce the risk of COVID exposure,” said Karen Buman, Myrtue Medical Center’s Chief Nursing Officer. “The Myrtue Medical Administrative Team calls on each and every Shelby County resident to rise to the occasion by practicing social distancing, washing your hands often, and by wearing masks to help us apply the brakes on this COVID surge.”

Symptoms of COVID may begin with mild symptoms, such as a runny nose, headache, or sore throat. Several individuals infected with the coronavirus mistakenly attributed their symptoms to allergies or a simple cold. “It is important for people experiencing symptoms of COVID, no matter how mild, to seek a medical evaluation and testing,” said Buman. “Early identification helps reduce ongoing exposure to others and decreases the spread of this novel virus.” Additionally, five to eight days after the onset of symptoms, it is common to see illness that is more moderate to severe. Some people take weeks and even months to recover from COVID infection.

As of November 3, 2020, 3,069 Shelby County residents have been tested with a 15.5% 14-day positivity rate.

  • 34% of the positive cases have been middle-aged (41-60 years of age) residents
  • 26% of the positive cases have been in adults 18-40 years of age
  • 23% of positive cases have been in adults 60-80 years of age
  • Fewer numbers have been seen in children (10%) and adults over 80 years of age (6%)

“Behavior changes in young and middle-aged adults in Shelby County can positively impact the health of our county,” stated Dr. Anderson. “Young and middle-aged adults care for children and their elderly parents and are critical members of the workforce. We can make great strides in reducing COVID illness if adults adopt preventive measures for themselves and the community at-large.”

Wear your mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands often and stay home when you are sick.