As of May 17 Monroe County has three new additional positive cases of COVID-19, which brings the county total to 22. The age group of the most recent positive cases is the 61-80 year age group. Most of the cases are confined to Oakwood Specialty Care.

The first infected person reported in Monroe County, a worker at the JBS pork plant in Ottumwa, has reportedly fully recovered and gone back to work.

Early last week the nursing facility reported four cases of COVID-19. On May 13, Monroe County reported 11 new additional positive cases of COVID-19 which brought the county total to 18. The age group from that report included: one new in the 41-60 year age group, eight new in the 61-80 year age group and two in the 81 and over age group.

“Oakwood Specialty Care has learned we have 10 new residents testing positive for COVID-19, which brings our total number of positive resident cases to 14,” said Jason Bridle of Care Initiatives. “Due to privacy regulations, we aren’t able to share more information about these residents. The health and safety of our residents and employees is our top priority. We continue to follow CDC and Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) infection control guidelines. This includes separating our positive-testing residents from other residents and utilizing proper PPE throughout the building. We have been in communication with the Monroe County Health Department and IDPH regarding this new development.”

He added, “We have been coordinating COVID-19 testing with the Monroe County Health Department. The latest result was the product of testing all of our residents earlier this week with the assistance of the Monroe County Health Department. Our next step is to test all of our employees.”

Bridle said that all staff, residents and family members have been updated with new information. “We have been and will continue to screen all staff at the beginning and end of their shift for signs and symptoms of COVID-19,” he said. “We also monitor our residents’ vitals and temperature at least twice per day to assess their health and well-being.”

On May 14, Monroe County Public Health and Monroe County Emergency Management announced the first COVID-19 related death in Monroe County. “We, as well as all of our community partners, send our deepest condolences to the family of this individual,” said Public Health Nurse Kim Hugen. “Our community holds this family in our thoughts and prayers. Out of respect to the family’s privacy we are unable to release any details about the individual other than they were in the 81 and over age group.”

Independently, the newspaper learned the death was of a 96-year-old woman who was reportedly in hospice care.

“As COVID-19 continues to interrupt our lives in unprecedented ways, we acknowledge the frustrations and anxiety Monroe County citizens are experiencing,” said Hugen. “We urge people to continue being vigilant and supportive of each other as we all work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All residents are strongly encouraged to follow the recommendations of Iowa Department of Public Health to protect each other and especially those most vulnerable, as we continue our work with community partners to mitigate the impact of this virus in our county.”

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