By Joe Fisher, Courtesy of The Times Republican
Marshall County’s COVID-19 positivity rate is spiking and Gov. Kim Reynolds is urging Iowans to take precautions.
The county’s positivity rate is 21.1 percent during the last 14 days according to the Iowa Department of Health COVID-19 dashboard. But Test Iowa is no longer available in Marshall County as of mid-October.
“I’ve looked at the positivity rates and they’re high and they’re concerning,” Marshall County Public Health Nurse Pat Thompson. “This is why we’re asking everybody to go back to how we were in March and April when we stayed home and really decreased our risks.”
Thompson said the best way to arrange testing is contacting your health care provider. The nearest Test Iowa sites, which offer free testing, are in Polk and Black Hawk counties. It is up to care providers if they decide doing a test is appropriate.
“If you have known exposure [to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19] and start having symptoms you should get tested,” Thompson said.
Symptoms of COVID-19 infection include fever, coughing, shortness of breath, aches, sore throat, nausea, headaches, fatigue and more. Though Thompson said about half of the people carrying the virus are asymptomatic.
“That’s why we need everybody to wear a mask,” she said. “You’re helping to protect everybody else. That’s a great community benefit and being a good citizen.”
Frequent hand washing, maintaining social distance of 6 feet or more and staying away from large gatherings are more mitigation efforts recommended to slow the spread of the virus.
Do not rely on Google search results to find testing sites in Marshall County as some of that information is outdated, according to Kim Elder, Marshall County Emergency Management coordinator. Often people are being misdirected to the sheriff’s office which does not host testing at this time.
Dialing 211 is another good resource for finding information about the novel coronavirus and testing availability, according to Elder.
Tests are conducted with a few different methods, including swabbing the nasal cavity or back of the throat. Most often test results are available in 48-72 hours after a test is administered.
“From what I’ve heard it’s pretty easy. Very simple and quick,” Elder said. “It’s harder to get an appointment than to take the test.”