Coronavirus cases worldwide now exceed 100,000 with at least 21 U.S. deaths, but health officials in northwest Iowa say there’s a fine line between being prepared for an outbreak and overreacting.
Tyler Brock, deputy director of Siouxland District Health, says some people in the area have asked to be tested out of concern they may have contracted the potentially-deadly virus.
“They’re just nervous about it and they want to know for sure whether or not they have this,” Brock says. “Even though symptoms don’t quite line up with the way the disease actually presents, there have been some folks seeking testing that really probably don’t need to be tested.”
There is a concern about people who have traveled overseas coming into a local clinic. Brock says they had a patient recently who had traveled abroad. The person was quickly moved from the waiting room to a separate area. Brock says 80-percent of people who test positive for coronavirus recover fairly quickly.
“The vast majority of these cases are mild,” Brock says. “While we want to be concerned, we want to have the proper level of concern, the balance between, yeah, we’re taking it seriously and yet we’re not overreacting to the situation which tends to make it worse.”
Brock says it’s important for Iowans who are returning from overseas trips, especially from countries with major outbreaks like China, Italy and South Korea, to act responsibly.
“The primary thing with folks returning from these countries are self-isolation, self-monitoring,” Brock says. “They’re not being ordered and quarantined or that kind of thing. It’s just a self-isolate, monitor yourself for symptoms, contact your provider when you think you have symptoms and your provider will take it from there.”
Statistics show the median age of a person with coronavirus is 51 with most cases between the ages of 30 to 69. Few children are affected, with only two to four percent of worldwide cases involving youngsters. The mortality rate is 3.7 percent, with most of the fatalities in older adults with respiratory issues and weakened immune systems.
(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)