EAGLE GROVE — Wright County’s proactive surveillance testing of the employees of the county’s largest employers was showcased during Governor Reynolds’ daily news conference today. Wright County health officials last week announced they had been working with Iowa Specialty Hospitals in doing the testing.
Sandy McGrath is a registered nurse and epidemiologist with Wright County Public Health and also serves as the mayor of Eagle Grove. McGrath says the numbers have spiked in Wright County in recent weeks due to that increased testing. “Currently you are seeing numbers increase in Wright County. We continue to do that surveillance. If I don’t kick the rock to avoid a landslide, that’s not being proactive. I’m out there testing, watching for those vulnerabilities. Sometimes it’s not the best thing when we start seeing the numbers go up, it just means we are paying attention. We’ve got the testing supplies and we’ll continue to do that.”
McGrath says they’ve also completed testing in the county’s nursing homes and are reaching out to other counties to help test in their long-term care facilities. “We’ve completed our local nursing homes and have reached out to our surrounding counties and other counties to assist them, whether it be if they had a concern, or a potential concern, or they just needed that routine surveillance. Our hope is to keep that maintained, we get everybody to a comfortable point where that routine surveillance can be ongoing until we find a better solution to what our response is to COVID.”
McGrath encourages residents to continue to be proactive in dealing with the pandemic. “We have COVID-19, it’s droplets in our community. We need to recognize that, what can we do to move forward. We need to continue to test. We need to continue to do surveillance. We appreciate having that availability for the testing supplies. We as citizens need to follow our droplet precautions, using our face coverings, hand washing, social distancing, and avoiding risky behavior.”
Governor Reynolds thanked McGrath and Wright County’s testing efforts. “I just appreciate the proactive measures that you’ve put in place, as you said, resource, response and prevention, working collectively with the public health, board of supervisors and your business partners, and of course Iowa Specialty Health Care. You have been a role model from the very beginning, and so I appreciate all that you and your team are doing and we look forward to continuing to partner with you as we move forward.”
As of 11 o’clock this morning, Wright County had not reported a new case of COVID-19 in a 24-hour period for the first time since May 14th. Wright County’s case numbers jumped from only six on May 14th to 124 as of yesterday.