COVID-19 — Behind the scenes

—Part 3
CRESCO - The Regional Health Services of Howard County COVID-19 (coronavirus) Community Partnership met through a tele-call on Monday, March 23. 
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 and Diane Trende updated the group on RHSHC saying Minnesota had a total of 169 cases of COVID-19, two in Fillmore County and six in Mower.
“As of today (Monday)Iowa has a total of 105, including six in Allamakee County and one in Winneshiek. There are no cases in Howard County,” Trende stated.
One item that is needed all over the state are N95 masks. It was announced some local ladies were sewing cloth masks. Schluter said, “It allows us to extend the life of the PPE (personal protective equipment) we do have. If any business has masks, especially N95, please bring them in.
“Also, if you are talking to any legislators, please tell them how we need assistance. We are at 30% of our normal appointments. Healthcare systems need some help to continue.”
• Audrey Nosbisch said the IDPH website hass information on how to screen customers as they enter a business.
• Darrell Knecht of Emergency Management sent out a newsletter that will be updated as needed on information the public needs to pay attention to. It will be available online and in an e-mail. If you would like a copy, e-mail him at
Knecht also said 20-30 masks are needed for law enforcement, public works and fire departments.
• Country Winds Manor updated its policy for staff. Effective immediately, employees will use a mask for precautionary measures. Department heads are also coming in on staggered shifts, so not everyone is in the building at the same time.
Evans Memorial Home is still screening staff at the entrance. They are having a meeting on Tuesday, which may bring on more stringent policies, such as thoseCountry Winds Manor is practicing.
• March 23 was the first day for meal service. Ted Ihns said there were 500 meals put together for students, which will continue through April 10.
• Kessel Kids is continuing to take the temperature of staff and kids upon arrival.
• Jason Passmore said that officially the SBA will expand its availability of loans. “They still have an interest rate of 3.75%, which won’t make our businesses happy.”
• It was announced Donaldson Company would stay open and is the exception to the policy about essential workers. The company will continue to run since it is a critical supplier. It also has a plan to give employees two weeks of paid leave if they need to be quarantined.
•Schluter said there is a severe shortage of blood because of states having a shelter-in-place order. The next local blood drive is scheduled for the end of April. Cresco Fire Chief Neal Stapelkamp offered the use of the station and firefighters to get one going before then. “We will need some support in this,” he added. 
Schluter concluded that those who need clinic appointments can probably do so with a tele-health visit. Call the hospital or clinic for more information on this.
The next tele-call between county leaders will be on Friday, March 27 at 3:30 p.m.

Cresco Times

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

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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