MASON CITY — Mason City’s mayor Bill Schickel thanked the community’s health partners during a news conference on Wednesday afternoon for their efforts during the COVID-19 crisis.
He says, “MercyOne North Iowa, the city, the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health have been working closely with our emergency response preparedness. Without these partners, we couldn’t do this. Really without all of you we couldn’t do this. I’m so grateful to have these partners, and with these partners we can fight this battle and be able to win it.”)
Schickel says a company called Unicast has gathered travel data throughout Iowa and it shows people locally have been heeding to the “stay at home” concept. “Cerro Gordo County received an ‘A’ in terms of reducing the distance we’re traveling, and that’s a really good, positive indication. Since our news conference last Tuesday, travel in Mason City and Cerro Gordo County has been reduced by 46%. We’re beating the statewide average according to this analysis. The statewide reduction is 29%.”
Schickel pointed back to the Spanish Influenza epidemic in Mason City in 1918 to show how not trying to take preventative measures can easily spread around an illness. “In five short days in the month of October, we went from zero cases to five cases, to 150 cases and four deaths. I say this not to frighten or not to scare, but to show that the things we’re doing are making a real difference, and the things you are doing are making a real difference.”
Schickel says he’s been practicing social distancing skills as best as possible. Prior to Wednesday afternoon’s news conference, he said he hadn’t been out of the house in three days.