Despite Clinton County’s recent uptick in positive COVID-19 cases, officials say resource stockpiles are healthy for now.
Those in charge of allocating the resources say their focus is now on potential future needs.
Clinton County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Chance Kness said the EMA has worked to set aside personal protective equipment that could be used if and when county COVID-19 cases spiked, and that foresight has created surplus of items.
However, Kness said there is a ubiquitous need for surgical masks and medical gloves in the county. The items are distributed to entities such as EMS crews and nursing homes.
“We had ordered those items anticipating an increase of cases in the fall,” Kness said. “Of course, it came a little earlier than we expected.”
Since July 19, Clinton County’s positive cases have risen by 62. As of Saturday afternoon, three of those who tested positive were in the hospital. In total, 238 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 and 97 have fully recovered, according to Iowa Department of Public Health.
Kness said the public can do its part to help the county’s relief effort by “not contributing to the problem,” he said.
“We need everyone to social distance and wear masks when they aren’t able to social distance and practice good hygiene. I realize there are naysayers to these things, but we only have so many tools to combat this issue right now and we need to use those tools.”
In addition to the EMA, the Disaster Recovery Coalition of Clinton County has been active. The coalition is a group of organizations, including the YWCA of Clinton, United Way of Clinton County and Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center, that are pooling their resources to help county residents facing financial fallout, mental health needs, or homelessness.
They, too, are eyeing the Clinton County COVID-19 case numbers as they approach 250.
“We are watching the recent uptick in positive cases,” said Cheryl McCulloh, director of the United Way. “And looking to see how that will affect people in the next couple weeks.”
The coalition meets once every couple of weeks to analyze numbers — including positive cases, unemployment stats, and the amount of people who have reached out for help — to gauge the community’s future need. It then distributes its resources as necessary.
County organizations that have received the coalition’s funds includes Life Connections in DeWitt and the Gateway Area Community Center in Clinton.
Finances for the group are doing fine, McCulloh said. But as federal dollars run out, they will soon need to dip into local donations that the coalition has received, including over $5,000 in private donations and $10,000 from the Clinton County Development Association. The group is expecting an increase in need in the coming months.
“We see schools reopening as a potential area where we will see an increase in positive cases again,” McCulloh said. “And those families, because they aren’t working, may have more needs and we are trying to help them.”
On Friday, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds extended the state’s health emergency proclamation, and with it, an eviction moratorium. McCulloh encouraged those who may be facing a possible eviction to not wait to reach out. Calling the DeWitt Referral Center of Information Referral Center in Clinton is the first step, she said.
“They will sit down with them and talk so they can help them figure out an appropriate organization to go to that will help.”