COVID-19 reaches new spikes

By Jon Quinn (TheLorian)

            COVID-19 is spreading more aggressively in people’s lives now than it did back in March. In the past week, Iowa has reached a record high in hospitalizations with a total of 730 individuals and a new daily record of 50 hospitalized individuals. Additionally, for the past four consecutive days, the new cases count in Dubuque county has been over 100 cases, averaging 119.5 cases a day. Iowa has broken another record with 81 outbreaks in long-term care facilities. In Dubuque, there is currently five; Luther Manor Communities (45 positive cases, 11 recoveries), ManorCare Health Services (7 positive cases, 1 recovery), MercyOne Dyersville Senior Care (35 positive cases, 28 recoveries), Shady Rest Care Center (7 positive cases, 2 recoveries), and Sunnycrest Manor (20 positive cases, 17 recoveries).

            According to the Dubuque County Public Health Incident Management Team, a total of 37,334 residents have been tested with a test positivity rate (14-day average) of 19 percent. Now while these numbers will change by tomorrow, the dangerous trend Dubuque County is on could lead to more hurt in the community. Last week, the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s state report for Iowa keeps Iowa, Dubuque County, and Dubuque designated as red zones. The report reads:

“All indicators of community spread are increasing, including percent of nursing homes with positive staff members and residents, and community spread is increasing hospital admissions, leading to potential resource constraints.”

            Fortunately, on campus the College has seen a decline in cases among students and faculty, allowing for special events to be held on campus like the 2020 commencement ceremony in early October. After this event, the campus continued to see a decline in cases on campus, despite the spikes in Dubuque County. In an email from Assistant Dean of Students Molly Burrows-Schumacher, she references the same report.

            “Additionally, the report says mitigation efforts must be increased to control community spread to include: ‘mask wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene, and avoiding crowds in public and specifically, social gatherings in private.’”

            Nationally, the United States achieved a grim milestone. According to Johns Hopkins University, the country recorded nearly 100,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day on Friday, Oct. 30. Cases continue to surge throughout the country worse than when the virus first came into the country and shut everything down last spring. Talk about another lockdown is brewing while local leaders are the ones making the call. We’ll have to wait until after the election to see how the handling of the Coronavirus will continue into the next presidential term.

            Free, local COVID-19 testing options include two Test Iowa clinics in Dubuque County for all Iowa residents. The first location is Epic Health and Wellness. In order to be tested at this location, you first have to take the Test Iowa assessment at www.testiowa.com. All testing at this location is by appointment, Monday through Friday. After taking the assessment, call 563.583.6595 to schedule an appointment, or schedule online at Epichealth.net.

            The second free testing location is Grand River Medical Group at their Respiratory Clinic location, 1400 University Ave., Apt. #6. They’re open from Mondays – Thursdays, 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. and Fridays from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. by appointment only. Schedule online on the Test Iowa website after completing the questionnaire at www.testiowa.com. You will receive a QR code and may request an appointment at a local clinic location. No appointments can be made over the phone. Drive-up testing is not offered at this location.

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Jon is currently a junior who is double-majoring in Media Studies and Public Relations. He is heavily involved at Loras as a campus photographer, residential adviser, and a sports editor for the school newspaper, The Lorian.

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