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Cerro Gordo health department “working tirelessly to prepare for when sick people fill our hospitals”

MASON CITY – The Cerro Gordo county health department is hard at work for the possibly unavoidable time when our local hospitals are inundated with Covid-19 victims, as other parts of the country are starting to face that reality now.


Health department director Brian Hanft released a statement this morning, saying, “Yesterday Governor Kim Reynolds expanded on her Public Health Disaster Emergency Proclamation. All existing closures, including restaurants and bar closures, were extended an additional week to April 7.  She also ordered the closure of additional retail — book stores; clothing and shoe stores; jewelry stores; luggage stores; cosmetic, perfume and beauty supply stores; furniture stores; florists and home furnishing stores. Starting at 5 p.m. Friday and “through the duration of this disaster,” all non-essential and elective surgeries that can be delayed without “undue risk to patients” are suspended, Reynolds said. Also, all elective dental procedures including hygienic, orthodontic or cosmetic procedures are suspended. Emergency procedures are allowed still, the governor said. Reynolds also ordered that “healthcare insurance companies shall reimburse healthcare providers for telehealth visits at the same rate as in-person visits.” She hopes that encourages patients to use telehealth more to screen and treat the virus. Lastly, Reynolds ordered that healthcare facilities, including nursing homes, “to engage in enhanced staff health screenings.”

“As we go into the weekend, these additional closures will help those stay home in hopes to decrease exposures to COVID-19. Our county is working tirelessly to prepare for when sick people fill our hospitals by gathering PPE, and surge planning. I can’t stress enough how important it is for folks to stay home when all possible. Cases across the state and nation are only on the rise. We have not yet hit our peak of COVID-19 cases. We have the most cases compared to any other nation in the world. I understand you miss happy hour, dinner with your friends and simply hugging your grandparents. We’ve missed birthdays and important events all for the sake of protecting those we love. Every single person has to choose to stay home when all possible to flatten the curve. Take a stroll in a local park this weekend, and remember this is temporary, but necessary. We will get through this, together.”

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