MASON CITY — There’s been a large rise in the number of COVID-19, RSV and influenza cases in north-central Iowa in recent weeks.
Jeni Stiles of the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health says just like last year, we’re seeing these respiratory illnesses spike right before the holidays. “We really just want people to keep an eye out for it, make sure that if they are needing to, going in and being seen. Testing is still important so that they can follow the proper isolation. Isolation for COVID is obviously different from influenza and RSV. It is important to know if you do have COVID so you can isolate for the five days, stay home for the five days and wear a mask for the five days after that.”
Stiles says if you do get COVID and still feel sick after those first five days of isolation, stay home. “Count the first day of illness as day zero, and then you are going to count out five days, and then on that day six is when they can return to normal activity, however we do ask that they wear a mask around other people for the next five days, so up through that tenth day, wear a mask around other people because they still could be contagious. We really want to make sure people are staying home even past that five days if they are still feeling pretty sick. If you’re feeling better, symptoms are improving, it’s ok to come back out on that day six, but wear a mask around other people.”
Stiles says if you are sick, stay at home. “Stay home if you’re not feeling well. Make sure good hand hygiene, washing your hands. If you are out and about, covering your cough. Just all those things. We’re coming upon our holiday season where everybody is going to be getting together, so we want to make sure too that even if you have an event that you’re going to be planning on attending that if you are not feeling well, don’t go.”
Stiles says if you need to, seek medical attention.