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Cerro Gordo County public health director says stay home if possible

MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health director Brian Hanft says it’s not if, but when we’ll see our first case of COVID-19 either in the county or our listening area. 

He says, “We know that we’re going to see localized cases for sure. We know that we have community spread it throughout the state of Iowa and that will continue to occur. We will be moving into likely contact tracing, which is going to really draw in the Department of Public Health and impact our capacity to otherwise provide routine services.”

Hanft cannot stress enough using social distancing skills and staying away from others as much as possible.  “Social distancing is going to be essential. We are really, really pleading with the public that if you can stay home, please do so. I still see a lot of cars out and maybe that’s necessary driving around and moving about within our community, but I’m really asking for people to stay home if you possibly can.”

Hanft says he’s working with state officials to get more testing available for our area.  “We are working as hard as we can. I spent time today on the phone with the state hygienic laboratory, seeing if we can get additional samples to be able to collect additional tests. We are working our hardest right now to be able to fulfill as much testing as we possibly can. Right now we’re focused on working with the emergency department to make sure that they have the tests that they need in order to deal with people that are coming in their doors.”

Hanft says it’s essential for public safety that if you are sick, you need to stay at home.  “This is probably one of the biggest messages that our partners, our hospital partners, the clinics and the public health department want to stress is that there are people who are going to become ill who might have mild symptoms, and there might be people who are ill that don’t have COVID-19 that maybe have mild symptoms, they don’t feel well, but we really need to try to reduce the overall surge on our hospital, that is key right now.”

Hanft says people can call their hotline Monday through Friday at 641-494-3546 or 641-494-3547.

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