Friday, Sept. 11 - Spencer Community School District receives first notifications of positive COVID-19 cases
Getting three weeks into the new school year the Spencer Community School District is experiencing its first cases of individuals testing positive for COVID-19. Spencer Superintendent Terry Hemann could not divulge details on the demographics of the positive cases, such as whether the positive cases were students or staff, but said the first notifications of positive cases in the district were reported on Friday with more being reported this week. The most recent numbers provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health coronavirus dashboard show Clay County at a total number of 271 positive COVID-19 cases confirmed since March and county officials reported Tuesday that there were approximately 37 known active cases within the county.
"I think a couple things this has done is heightened the awareness for staff and students and probably families out there," Hemann said. "In addition to positive COVID tests, what us and others are dealing with is exposures. So you then have other people that may have to quarantine if they were within 6 feet of the person with a positive test result for more than 15 minutes, this is guidelines coming form the Iowa Department of Public Health, we're working with our public health department and following the guidelines.
He continued, "We're continuing to monitor, we've got our nursing staff working in conjunction with public health. We're giving people the same advice we've given them all along, if you have symptoms stay home, if you have symptoms to be tested. Get to the respiratory clinic, wherever somebody might go to get a test. We just need to all work together to get this under control. We know we will have cases, exposures in our school but we kneed to do everything we can to mitigate those risks for people and that is what we are trying to do."
Hemann said one misconception he wanted to address is that in an environment full of masked individuals, there still may be a need to quarantine when around an individual who tests positive for COVID-19.
"To the question of 'why do we wear a mask at all?' we wear the mask to reduce the spread, reduce the risk, to prevent people from transmitting it to others," Hemann said. "We wear masks to mitigate the risk for people and I think that has been helpful within our school. … You don't know where people get it, where people have been necessarily within their school day, I don't think anyone can determine that. Is this transmission happening within the school? Could it be? Yes. Could it be outside the school? Sure it could. We don't know that."
Having a school day in a world with potential COVID-19 exposure is something districts throughout the country have had to plan for as the last school year ended and the 2020-21 school year approached. The Spencer Superintendent said the district is ready to handle complications created by the pandemic but acknowledged the district has already been forced to adapt to change in short time.
"I think people are aware we did have to cancel Tuesday night's cross-country meet at Storm Lake, cancel our plans to attend that due to a positive case on that team as we were determining if others needed to quarantine," Hemann said. "We had some kids on Friday night, with short notice had to have some kids not participate in some activities Friday evening due to results coming back at the end of the day for tests and having to quarantine some people.
He continued, "Right now we're able to, if there are staff members that are out we have subs, … if we were to get to a high rate of people out, that might affect if we could have school in a building in our district. Those are rates we are currently quite a ways away from currently. … If a student is in quarantine and they're not ill the expectation is that they'll stay in contact with their teacher as if a regular school day. If somebody has been exposed, the guidelines are there's a 14-day quarantine that needs to take place and that quarantine doesn't mean just you're not in school that quarantine means they really shouldn't be anywhere but quarantined at home."
District email correspondence regarding Spencer cross-country sent to students and families Wednesday stated the Spencer cross country teams' seasons will continue, being coached by coaches Kurt Bauermeister and John Doely.
Hemann said the district will have its "ups and downs" this school year and said the district aims to do what is possible to work through positive cases while also maintaining mitigation efforts.
"I think we had a feeling, … having gone almost three weeks with out any, we were doing really well and knowing that, having a pretty good idea that, is our turn coming?" Hemann said. "I think our students and staff are still doing a great job in school, (we need to just) make sure we're doing better outside the school out in the community."
11:25 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 29 - Clay County reported COVID-19 related deaths reach three total
The Iowa Department of a Public Health announced this morning an additional Covid-19 death in Clay County.
This is the third death attributed to Covid-19 in the county and the second in the past week.
4:35 p.m. Saturday, Aug 22 - Second death reported in Clay County
Clay County had a death attributed to Covid-19 on Friday, according to the state coronavirus dashboard. That is the second Covid-19 death in the county.
A total of 1,031 deaths in Iowa have been attributed to Covid-19.
Clay County total cases sits at 229.
10:55 a.m. Thursday, July 30 - State of Iowa to strengthen enforcement of social distancing requirements for food and alcohol businesses
DES MOINES - Beginning this week, the State of Iowa will take additional steps to enforce compliance with Governor Reynolds' emergency public health disaster proclamation regarding social distancing and advanced hygiene practices at Iowa bars, restaurants, and other food establishments.
The Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) and Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) will work together to ensure that businesses follow public health guidelines set forth by the proclamation due to the coronavirus pandemic.
To promote social distancing and limit the spread of COVID-19, the proclamation requires establishments to create at least six feet of physical distance between each group or individual dining or drinking alone, all patrons must have a seat at a table or bar, and an establishment must limit patrons from congregating together closer than six feet.
"Public safety is of the utmost importance. Although a majority of bars and restaurants are voluntarily complying with social distancing requirements, we will take these necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of Iowans,” said DIA Director Larry Johnson.
“COVID-19 is still with us and we need bars and restaurants to help mitigate the spread of the virus,” said Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division Administrator Stephen Larson. “For those businesses that choose not to, they need to understand that there are consequences.”
For businesses with an alcoholic beverage permit or license, the Alcoholic Beverages Division will issue a $1,000 fine for the first offense. For businesses with only a food license, DIA will issue a warning.
The second documented infraction for either a business with only a food license as well as those with both a food and alcohol permit or license will trigger a seven-day suspension of the business' alcohol permit or license by ABD, as well as a seven-day suspension by DIA of the business' food license.
A third infraction will trigger the revocation of all food and alcohol permits and licenses for the offending business.
7:00 p.m. Tuesday, July 28 - Spencer School Board approves return to learn plan for school year '20-'21
Spencer Schools are set to reopen for classes on Aug. 24. The Spencer School Board voted Tuesday evening to approve a return to learn recommendation presented by Spencer Superintendent Terry Hemann, which also accommodates Gov. Kim Reynolds’ recent proclamation which provided additional requirements for school reopening plans.
“Spencer Community Schools have gathered input from students, parents, and staff,” Hemann said. “We have studied the recommendations of the CDC and the American Association of Pediatrics. We have listened and heard how other schools in Iowa and other states are planning to safely bring students and staff back to school. We have also struggled to move forward with our planning and preparation with little guidance from the state and federal departments of education. Recently, Governor Reynolds issued a proclamation that took the full-online option as a choice for school districts off the table. The proclamation stated that schools must provide face-to-face learning for at least 50% of a child’s instruction. However, students and families may be provided the choice to select online learning.
He added, “We could not make the following recommendations without the local input from students, parents, and staff. We also have relied heavily on our local public health officials for insight and guidance. Thank you all for your input and support. We understand that any decision that is made regarding the return to school will not meet the wants and expectations of some. This is a very difficult issue that as leaders, we must make a decision and move forward. But, we are at the point that a decision needs to be made.”
Under the plan, which may be subject to changes in the future, schools will open for full attendance at all school sites on Aug. 24 with attendance and participation required for all students of compulsory age. Masks, face shields, or face covering will be required for students who physically attend school and Spencer school staff when interacting with students or when they are not able to social distance.
“Students who have a diagnosed and medically supported health condition and or family who do not feel safe physically attending school will have the option to attend Spencer schools and receive remote instruction from Spencer School staff,” Hemann said. “Students and their families who choose to attend remotely, they will be graded, their attendance will be required. … A student beginning their year in the remote online format they must remain in that option until at least if they're in high school the first quarter or if they’re in elementary schools or the middle school the first trimester. … A student may change from physically attending school to the remote format at anytime. Families will be sent a survey that will allow them to select the remote, online option. Teaching staff will be assigned to teach and facilitate learning for students and families who select the remote online option. When possible, teachers with documented health conditions will be assigned to teach and facilitate remote online learning.”
The superintendent said busing will be available for all students who absolutely need it – both out of town and in-town – however families are encouraged to use other transportation if and when possible. Masks will be required on buses Additionally, school schedules will be formatted to limit transitions that occur in a school day and student groupings will be limited to reduce exposure. At all schools, additional cleaning and disinfecting will occur as part of the plan, with classroom surfaces cleaned between class periods, restrooms, playgrounds common areas receiving additional attention and high traffic areas being disinfected each day with hydro-electric sprayers. No student school trips or field trips will be conducted until the end of the first semester of the year.
The plan’s protocols for dealing with “COVID related illnesses” have been developed by district nursing staff and health officials based on current guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health and Center for Disease Control, with the plan stating “additional guidance is expected to be released soon." The information within the plan Tuesday evening stated “each illness and the people who may be affected or exposed to COVID-19 will be addressed” and that “protocols in place will help isolate those who may test positive for COVID-19 and quarantine those who may have been exposed to someone with a positive diagnosis.”
Members of the board reacted positively to the recommendation, with some discussion concerning the masking requirements – with Hemann explaining a large number of masks and face shields had been ordered for the district but expected more would likely need to be ordered in the future.
“I guess for me, the recommendation is excellent, Terry did a nice job of putting that together,” board member Jeremy Parsons said. “As I read this again ‘masks or face shields will be required for students who physically attend school.’ It’s required, it’s not saying when you’re required to wear it, so I think maybe we do have teacher discretion covered in there. Personally I don’t necessarily like the masks, that’s just me personally … but I also understand it has to be done if you want to go back to school and stay in school. Nothing in the world is normal right now, this is just part of what we have to do. After seeing that I think we do have room in there for the teachers to have some discretion.”
“I expect there as we get more guidance, as things change that we make adjustments,” board member Dean Mechler said. “This might have to be a little bit of a living document.”
The board voted unanimously to approve the recommendation. Additional information will be released in the coming days by the various building principals.
4:25 p.m. Monday, July 20 - Festival of Lessons and Carols moved to 2021
After much discussion and prayerful consideration, the Spencer Messiah Board has chosen to postpone this year’s “Festival of Lessons and Carols” scheduled for December 6th. During the cononavirus health crisis, it was felt to be in the best interest and safety of our singers and audience to postpone this year’s holiday concert. The board will look forward to next year when they will present “A Festival of Lessons and Carols” on December 5, 2021.
The board presents “A Festival of Lessons and Carols” during the years between the presentation of Handel’s Messiah. The next presentation of the “Messiah” will be in 2022.
The Spencer Messiah Board wishes to thank all of our singers as well as the many community members who make coming to the annual concerts a true Spencer area holiday tradition.
The board would also like to thank their sponsors, St. Luke Homes and Services and the Spencer Daybreaker Kiwanis club.
For additional information or questions, please visit our Facebook page, “Spencer Messiah.”
1:25 p.m. Friday, July 17 - Reynolds will require students to return to class at least half-time
VAN METER (AP) — Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Friday she would override local school districts and require students to spend at least half of their education time in classrooms despite concerns the move could endanger children and teachers as the number of coronavirus cases increase in the state.
Reynolds’ decision will invalidate plans implemented by some districts including Des Moines, the state’s largest school system, to limit in-person classes to one day a week for most students with online learning on other days. The governor’s actions are in line with the fervent recommendations of President Donald Trump, who has said it’s essential students return to classrooms despite surging numbers of virus cases in much of the country.
”One of the most important milestones in our recovery effort is getting Iowa students back to school,“Reynolds said at a news conference. “And while we all know this school year will be different than ever before, its critical that we prioritize bringing Iowa’s children back to the classroom safely and responsibly.”
Reynolds said districts could seek waivers from the 50% requirement to the state Education Department, which would consider making exceptions if there are surging local numbers of virus cases. There will be no change in the Education Department’s recommendation that districts not require that students and teachers wear masks in school, Reynolds said.
The governor issued her order a little more than a month before schools are expected to resume and amid rising numbers of coronavirus cases. In the last 24 hours, Iowa had 879 new confirmed coronavirus cases and five more deaths, according to state statistics reported Friday.
11:18 a.m. Friday, July 17 - IEDA launches Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program
The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) today announced the launch of the new Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program. The program will provide short-term relief to eligible small businesses and nonprofits that faced significant hardship in the payment of utility bills for service provided during the months of disruption to their business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program offers grants up to $7,500 to be applied to utility bill debt for eligible small businesses.
“Iowa’s small businesses and nonprofits keep our communities and our economy moving forward, and they have been hit hard in these unprecedented times,” said IEDA and Iowa Finance Authority Director Debi Durham. “We are proud to work with our utility partners statewide through this new program to help reduce the burden and position small businesses for recovery and growth.”
A funding allocation of $14.5 million from the CARES Act is available to IEDA for this initiative. To be eligible to receive assistance, businesses must have:
a physical (non-residential) location in Iowa and 50 or fewer employees;
not received funding from the IEDA’s Small Business Relief Grant Program;
experienced a COVID-19 loss of revenue on or after March 17, 2020, that resulted in unpaid bills for electric or natural gas service provided between March 17, 2020, and June 30, 2020; and
remained in operation or re-opened at the time of application.
For a full list of eligibility requirements, additional information and to apply, visit iowabusinessrecovery.com. Applications will be accepted between July 17, 2020, and August 21, 2020, or until funding is depleted, whichever comes first. Applications will be reviewed in the order received. Assistance will be awarded based on application completeness and eligibility until all funds have been exhausted.
Questions regarding the Small Business Utility Disruption Prevention Program can be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1.855.300.2342.
11:05 a.m. Wednesday, July 15 - Westward Road concert cancelled
The Westward Road concert scheduled for July 25 at the Band Shell in East Leach Park in Spencer has been cancelled due to COVID-19. The event was to be hosted by Grace United Methodist Church.
11 a.m. Wednesday, July 15 - Clay County tops 150 positive cases
After lagging behind most of the state during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Clay County has topped 150 positive cases. According to the Iowa Department Public Health dashboard the local number stands at 152. One case has resulted in death in Clay County.
4:50 p.m. Friday, July 10 - 2020 Main Street Market season canceled, alternate events planned
With the Main Street Market season recently shortened to three events, the Spencer Alliance for a Creative Economy has now decided to cancel the 2020 season. Spencer Main Street Executive Director Nancy Naeve said SPACE’s decision was influenced in part due to the Clay County Fair’s postponement.
“We want to keep people safe and act responsibly,” Naeve said. “So as an alternative we are inviting artisans to Arts on Grand Aug. 6 and Aug. 13 from 5-7 p.m. to sell their products. SPACE’s mission is to help get more art in the community and since Main Street Market was an avenue for artists to sell their wares, we didn’t want to short change their effort.”
Vendor space for the upcoming Arts on Grand events will be limited to five on a first come first serve basis and will be distanced in the space. Safety precautions in place will include limiting the number of shoppers inside, hand sanitizer will be available and traffic through the building will enter through the back door and depart through the front.
Those interested in being a vendor can call Jim Schooley at 580-8623 for more information.
9:50 a.m. Thursday, July 9 - Clay County experiences first COVID death
The first death attributed to COVID-19 has hit Clay County as the number of confirmed cases in the county reaches 142.
“Clay County has experienced its first COVID-19 related death, and we’re saddened that our community has lost a long-time resident due to complications of this virus,” Spencer Hospital President Bill Bumgarner said in a statement released by the hospital.
“We express our condolences to family and friends,” Bumgarner said.
The hospital administrator noted that due to patient privacy rights, the hospital will not share specific details. It is unknown whether or not the individual was hospitalized either locally or elsewhere, nor has any information been provided regarding the individual’s gender or age range.
Statewide total deaths have reached 739 with 87% falling in the 61 and older demographic. Fifty-three percent of the passings have been male. Of the deceased, 521 reportedly had pre-existing conditions, 168 were determined pre-existing conditions unknown and only 50 were listed as no pre-existing conditions.
In Clay County, only 33% of positive COVID-19 cases are in the 61 ad over age demographic, while 58% fall in the 18-40 range. Symptomatic cases comprise 63% of all positive tests. Positive cases continue to decline since a high between June 20-25.
Bumgarner offered these words of caution. “The tragic loss of a community member reminds us, that while many people may not experience COVID-19 symptoms or have a light case, the virus can be fatal.”
He continued, “Please help protect fellow community members. Wear a mask in public areas. Practice social distancing and healthy hygiene practices. Each one of us can make a difference in protecting the health of others.”
Thursday, July 2 - Clay County Fair postponed until 2021
The Clay County Fair Association announced today that the 2020 edition of “The World’s Greatest County Fair” will not be held and will be postponed to Sept. 11-19, 2021.
The decision, announced following a vote by the Fair Executive Committee, was made amid concerns over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. After weeks of exploring various options, it became clear that the Fair could not protect the health and safety of fairgoers, staff, volunteers, 4-H/FFA youth, exhibitors, vendors, sponsors, and entertainers during the nine-day event.
“The decision to postpone the Fair came with emotion and somewhat disbelief that it was really happening,” said Fair Association Board Chairman Charlie Elser. “But with lots of input from our partners and work by our staff, the decision was the right one. It’s time to move forward and think about 2021.”
Despite the postponement of the Fair, 4-H/FFA livestock competitions will be held this fall. Details will be available soon from Iowa State University Extension Clay County.
Below is a full statement from Fair CEO/Manager Jeremy Parsons:
“For the past several weeks, we have gathered information, talked with public health authorities, and dialogued with our partners all in an attempt to fulfill the Fair’s mission of providing a “safe family atmosphere” in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. After exploring all options, the answer is clear. We simply cannot. The Clay County Fair will not be held in 2020.
The absolute minimum to keep our entire Fair family safe would be following the current public health recommendations of social distancing and increased sanitation. Unfortunately, we discovered that implementing these measures would have eliminated some of our greatest Fair traditions and made other traditions unrecognizable. We couldn’t imagine limiting the standing-room-only crowds at the draft horse show or the 4-H beef show. Fifty percent capacity at our free entertainment tents? No way. We didn’t want partially empty exhibit buildings so we could properly socially distance our vendors. For those who had already purchased reserved Grandstand tickets, we would have been forced to move or refund your seats to keep everyone separate. We didn’t like the thought of making your family wait in socially distanced lines to enjoy Grandpa’s Barn or the Depot.
No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t find a way to give you the entire “World’s Greatest County Fair” experience that you have come to love, expect, and deserve.
While we cannot give you the Fair this year, we are working hard to find safe ways that you can still create blue ribbon memories. Opportunities for our local 4-H/FFA youth and local non-profits are at the forefront of that attempt, and details will be released in the coming weeks.
Our Fair is just like your home. A strong foundation is essential for it to be secure. For the Fair, our foundation is you – our Board, staff, volunteers, 4-H/FFA youth, exhibitors, vendors, sponsors, entertainers, and fairgoers. This year, however, our foundation is shaky at best. The Fair and many of our non-profit partners need large groups of volunteers and employees to make the Fair a success. In a normal year, it is difficult to find the help; this year, it would be nearly impossible. Many people are not comfortable being around crowds for nine consecutive days, and the effect of a possible outbreak that could occur in the middle of the Fair is a risk we are not willing to take.
Also just like your home, the Fair cannot be built in a day. Our decision must be made now. While it would be nice to see into the future and know what September would be like in this unprecedented time, we don’t have that luxury. We must make educated decisions based on what we know today. Waiting any longer could have damaging effects to our many Fair partners and the Fair itself. Preparing for the Fair requires financial commitment for many, including us, and we can’t wind up anything that can’t be unwound.
For more than a century, your unwavering support has made us “The World’s Greatest County Fair” and we cannot thank you enough. Just like you, we are disappointed that we won’t be together this September. More than that, we are heartbroken because we know this decision will impact each of you directly, and our community as a whole. However, while this was a tough decision, it is also the most responsible decision to ensure the safety of our entire Fair family, the community, and the long-term stability of the Fair itself.
When this is all over, we know that Clay County, northwest Iowa and the entire region will need our Fair more than ever. And, just as we have done for 103 years, we will be ready.”
For additional information and explanation, including a link to extensive FAQs, please visit https://claycountyfair.com/2020-clay-county-fair-update/
This marks the fifth time in the 103-year history of “The World’s Greatest County Fair” that the Fair will not be held. From 1942-1945, the Fair was suspended due to World War II.
The 2021 Clay County Fair will be Sept. 11-19.
1:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 24 - Annual Spencer 4th festivities canceled
It appears as though fireworks in the driveway will be the highlight of this July 4 celebration thanks to COVID-19 health concerns.
The tradition of patriotic music, burgers and watermelon, flags, a salute to area veterans in East Leach Park and a fireworks spectacular over the fairgrounds to end the evening has been put on hold by the Fourth of July Committee.
“It’s just a situation where we can’t do the celebration like we would want to do it,” explained Bob Rose, a member of the Spencer committee.
He added, “If we were going to do it halfway, we’re not going to do it. Let’s just wait until next year.”
According to Rose, there is no municipal band this summer, the people in charge of the flags and the veterans organizations have indicated they don’t wish to participate in the large group gathering.
“All we would have is the fireworks so we decided it would be best to postpone it,” Rose said.
Jeremy Parsons, who oversees the fireworks presentation, and Rose met a couple of weeks ago to discuss concerns. The two decided, on behalf of the committee, it would be better to hold off until 2021.
“The fireworks are already paid for this year,” Rose said. “Next year is our 150-year celebration so we figured it might be nice to have something bigger and better next year in connection with that.”
Monday, June 22 - Clay County breaks triple digits for total positive COVID-19 cases
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, total positive cases of COVID-19 in Clay County rose past 100 Friday, with the current total at 106 as of Monday night. State reported data shows like Clay, Dickinson County is also continuing to experience an upward trend in positive cases having reached a total of 207 positive cases so far and that Buena Vista County, currently having the fourth largest total positive cases of COVID-19 in the state at 1,669, is trending down in positive cases for the first time since May.
Spencer Hospital President Bill Bumgarner said the sharp increase of positive cases in the region is concerning.
“While many of those who test positive have no symptoms or mild ones, they remain infectious and can transmit the virus to someone who is more vulnerable,” Bumgarner said. “This includes the elderly and people with underlying health conditions. We should all care about this. The basic precautions are simple but essential: wear a mask to protect others while in public, social distance, wash your hands thoroughly throughout the day, cover your cough and sneezes and stay home if you feel ill or are infected. Taking these measures is how we demonstrate to our community that we care."
As of Monday night, the state reported a total of 262,405 individuals have been tested in the state with 235,823 testing negative and 26,211 testing positive for the disease so far.
Thursday, June 18 - 1st COVID-19 related death reported in Lakes Area
Local health officials are extending condolences and urging caution after Dickinson County confirmed its first death related to COVID-19 on Monday. The patient was a male over the age of 80, according to information from Dickinson County Public Health.
The news came on a day when the county's total cases topped 150 on Monday.
"We wish to extend our condolences to this individual’s family," Lakes Regional Family Medicine physician and Dickinson County Public Health Medical Director Zach Borus said. "Lakes Regional Healthcare, Dickinson County Public Health and all of our key partners throughout the county and state continue to work to limit the spread and impact of this virus in our communities."
State officials said 51 Dickinson County residents had recovered from the coronavirus Tuesday evening. Another 108 cases are considered active, for a total of 159 cases as of Tuesday evening. An individual is considered recovered once they meet two criteria, according to Sarah Reisetter, deputy director at the Iowa Department of Public Health. A span of seven days must have passed since the onset of symptoms, and the individual must have been symptom-free for three consecutive days.
The Iowa Department of Public Health statistics show 135 of the county's current cases were reported over the last 16 days. The county has seen as many as 20 cases reported in a single day. Monday was the second day Dickinson County hit that threshold — the first was June 11. Officials with Lakes Regional Healthcare said currently no positive cases are in need of ventilators or any of the hospital's four critical care units.
Across the county line to the south, Clay County rose from 15 total cases in late May to 83 cases as of Tuesday. Buena Vista County's 1,600 total cases continue to rank in the state's top five, and it leads the state in per capita infections at about eight in every 100 people — twice that of number two Crawford County. Dickinson County now has the 17th highest infection rate per capita statewide — approaching one in every 100 people.
Bill Bumgarner, president of Spencer Hospital, released a statement Friday regarding the region's increase in confirmed cases.
"COVID-19 infections have increased significantly in our region since the Memorial Day holiday," Bumgarner said. "There have been too many social and recreational gatherings and too few masks. Does the Iowa Great Lakes Region have the resolve to do what's needed to reduce the rate of COVID-19 infections? Only if we change. Let's care for one another and our communities. Wear a mask in public. Social distance. Encourage your family and friends to join you. We can do this. We must."
Dickinson County Public Health continues to urge the public to follow recommended precautions in stemming the spread of the virus, such as washing hands often, avoiding close contact with others and wearing a face mask or shield when unable to remain at a distance. The public should also be covering coughs and sneezes, according to public health officials, and disinfecting surfaces regularly in addition to monitoring themselves for symptoms — fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Statewide, 669 Iowans have died due to COVID-19, while 15,092 have recovered.
Thursday, June 18 - LIRBA votes to cancel Bully Bullhead Weekend
At a June 17, Wednesday afternoon meeting of the Lost Island/Ruthven Betterment Association it was decided to cancel Bully Bullhead Weekend in Ruthven due to those rising positive cases of COVID-19. All activities associated with Bully Bullhead are cancelled. LIRBA stated its first priority is to keep their residents safe. Bully Bullhead Weekend 2021 will be held July 9-11.
1 p.m. Monday, June 15 - Clay County reaches 75 positive cases as region experiences spike
Positive cases of COVID-19 in Clay County continue on an upward trajectory, reaching a total of 75 positive cases Monday. While none of the most recent local cases have required hospitalization, public health officials said cases have mostly been mild to moderate in symptoms or asymptomatic.
"We were worried about this occurring after the Memorial Day weekend and with the Lakes area opening up to tourists and summer residents," Clay County Public Health Coordinator Colette Rossiter said. "Many restrictions have been lifted and folks are growing weary of our pleas to social distance. We continue to support the public health measures we know are effective: physical distancing from others outside your immediate family (6 ft) and wearing a mask when in public. That doesn't mean folks can't get out and enjoy Summer. We just want them to use common sense. Today we are at 75 total cases for Clay County, and 35 of those are fully recovered. We are conducting investigations daily on each case reported to us. During these interviews, we reinforce the message of the isolation requirement for the positive case for a minimum of 10 days. In addition we identify close contacts of the case, inform them of their need to quarantine for 14 days, and encourage them to be tested."
1:30 p.m. Thursday, June 4 - Clay County positive cases "nearly doubled"
Total positive cases of COVID-19 in Clay County have increased to 25. "Our case count has almost doubled this past week," Clay County Public Health Coordinator Colette Rossiter said. "None are hospitalized. 19 cases have recovered and the remaining six are isolating at home."
4:27 p.m. Monday, June 1 - SHS Commencement Plan 2020
1) SCSD will abide by CDC guidelines, including urging vulnerable Iowans with pre-existing medical conditions &
those over age 65, to remain at home.
2) This plan was reviewed by the Clay County COVID Taskforce on 5/20/20 and by Public Health on 6/1/20.
Plan A: All Srs & 4 Family/Guests in Dale Norton FB Stadium
● SCSD will choose the date based on the weather forecast, and notify families on June 10.
● If Friday, June 12th, the ceremony will begin at 7 pm.
● If Saturday, June 13, or Sunday, June 14, at 2:30.
● Each family will be allowed up to 4 people besides the graduate. It 2 Primary Guardians are listed, two
tickets would be provided to each guardian for a total of 4 tickets.
● An RSVP is required including names of those who will receive the tickets. RSVP through this link by
June 1. Paper tickets, printed with the name of each guest, will be mailed to the Primary Guardian(s) and
must be presented at Commencement. Tickets are not transferable.
● 60 minutes before the start time of the ceremony.
○ If Friday night, gates open at 6:00.
○ If Saturday or Sunday, gates open at 1:30 pm.
● 3 gates for entrance
○ North Ticket Entrance
○ South Ticket Entrance
○ Southeast Gate (ambulance parking at FB games); parking available at baseball & softball complex
● Families will bring lawn chairs & blankets for seating on the football field, following appropriate social
● Seniors sit in the stadium bleachers, beginning on the south half.
● Using Google Meet, Mrs. Wiemers will conduct a virtual rehearsal with students.
○ Attend one rehearsal: Wed, 6/10 @ noon OR Wed, 6/10 @ 7 pm
○ Log on Google Meet (meet.google.com) and use the password “hsadmin”
○ Parents welcome!
● Seniors: Graduation Cap, Gown, Tassel, Honors Cords, and NHS Stoles; dress up as much as you can!
○ No flipflops - Too noisy.
○ Girls, be cautious about heel height as you have stadium stairs to navigate.
○ Decorate your cap! Offensive decor will not be allowed; Mrs. Wiemers will have a plain hat for you.
○ Borrowed items, including NHS stoles, will be returned at the end of the ceremony.
● Family Members & Guests: Dress comfortably
After the ceremony
● All seniors and guests should depart from the SHS campus immediately. Thank you
3:00 p.m. Thursday, May 28 - All positive cases have recovered at this time
County officials have confirmed that all 13 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19, including those confirmed this week, in Clay County are considered recovered at this time.
2:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 27 - Clay County positive cases reach 13 total
Three newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 have brought Clay County's total to 13, with 10 having recovered at this time. According to the IDPH, 351 individuals in Clay County have been tested for the coronavirus as of Wednesday.
12:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 26 - Gov. Reynolds signs new proclamation continuing the State Public Health Emergency Declaration