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County health director says people can’t get complacent despite drop in COVID cases

MASON CITY — Despite the active number of COVID-19 cases declining in the last month, the director of the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health says we shouldn’t get complacent in protecting ourselves and others from coronavirus.

Brian Hanft says  the 14-day rolling average is around three percent currently, but we need to keep things in perspective as the nation passed the half-million mark for deaths on Monday.  “On a national scope, I think we still need to make sure we watch what’s happening. The United States just passed 500,000 fatalities. That number is just mind blowing. What we really want to stress to people is let’s celebrate this small win of 3%, but certainly let’s not lose sight of how we got to 3%, and know that across this country, there’s still a substantial amount of illness that’s happening. People are dying at a fast rate.”

Hanft says people may have vacation plans in the next few months, but they still need to keep wary of helping prevent the spread of COVID.  “People getting ready to enjoy a spring break and take off for some travel, we know that’s going to be happening. As people travel, we need to take extra precautions when the people come back. Even if you’ve been vaccinated, mask use is still essential to controlling the spread. Mask usage, hand washing, staying home if you are sick, again those same messages, we need to continue resonating with the public.”

The signup went quickly on Monday for 400 doses of vaccine that will be distributed this week. Hanft says he’s been asking the state about the possibility of vaccinating more people 65 and older in the county.  “I personally have communicated with staff members in the governor’s office saying we feel like we’ve got a pretty strong set-up here, and we could take on a lot more vaccine, and if they can spare it, we would certainly welcome it to get thousands of doses put in a week, we think we can do that. We’ll continue to work on that messaging and hopefully we see increased numbers.”

Hanft announced at today’s meeting of the Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors that the county would be getting 800 vaccine doses for next week.

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