COVID-19 — Behind the scenes

—Part 2
CRESCO - The Regional Health Services of Howard County COVID-19 (coronavirus) Community Partnership met through a tele-call on Friday, March 20. This helps keep healthcare workers, community leaders, city officials and others aware of what everyone else is going through. RHSHC CEO Robin Schluter conducted the meeting.
She updated the group on RHSHC saying Minnesota had 26 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing its total to 115.
“Iowa has a total of 44, including two in Allamakee County and one in Winneshiek. There are no cases in Howard County. We have sent tests in. They are either pending or negative.”
The Saturday morning clinic at the hospital is cancelled.
Starting on Monday, March 23, there will only be one entrance to the hospital/clinic, which is at the front entrance/emergency entrance. “There will be no parking at the clinic. We will have extra staff and wheelchairs at the front entrance to help get patients to the clinic,” she added.
According to suggestions from teh Iowa Department of Public Health, each staff member has his or her temperature taken at the beginning and end of their shift.
The major retailers and food places will have flyers giving information on COVID-19 put in their bags.
“We encourage any business staying open to do a screening before letting staff and customers in the building,” Audrey Nosbisch, Administrator of Community Health, advised. “Businesses can call Community Health if they want to discuss screenings,” she added 
• Darrell Knecht of Emergency Management again stated he had officially opened the EOC (Emergency Operations Center), which monitors the emergency, in this case the coronavirus.
He was able to get a count of children belonging to healthcare workers to the proper state department. 
He has also received a resource list on what items are needed in the hospital and fire departments.
• Superintendent of Howard-Winneshiek Community School District, Ted Ihns, stated they have not been given an answer on what to do with the school’s daycare service, Kessel Kids.
A representative for Kessel Kids noted staff has seen some self-reduction in kids going to the facility.
“We will start delivering meals to students in Cresco and the outlying centers on Monday, March 23. So far, we have 330 signed up. We anticipate that number to reach 450-500 by the end of the weekend.”
He went on to say teachers are reaching out to students and parents, sharing web links to keep their minds busy during this time.
• Jessica Reis, director of NICC-Cresco Center, said all the buildings will be closing from March 23-April 10. “Everyone will be working from home.”
• Cresco Public Works is moving employees around to work in different areas, starting on March 23. For example, a water guy will go to wastewater and one from that department will go to streets, so a whole department is not getting quarantined or sick at the same time.
Donna Thomas of Cresco Bank & Trust they are doing the same with their employees and staff at Decorah Bank & Trust.
• Jason Passmore of Howard County Business & Tourism offered the marquee to get information out about different things. In addition, he and his staff put together a restaurant guide that is online and will appear in the Times Plain Dealer and Cresco Shopper next week.
• Cresco Fire Department is preparing to be ready when needed.
In conclusion, Schluter wanted to let locals know RHSHC has shut down 80% of its business, including elective surgeries, to help keep everyone in the community safe. “We will be needing federal funding to help us out,, so please talk with our legislators to ensure they support our local health care infrastructure,” she said.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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