County supervisors receive COVID-19 update

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Efforts underway to clear PPE hurdle

The Clay County Board of Supervisors met Tuesday morning, holding its regular session via teleconference. The board received an update from Clay County Emergency Manager Eric Tigges and Clay County Emergency Medical Services Coordinator Tammy McKeever regarding the presence of COVID-19 within the state and local preparations for potential positive cases of the virus in the county.

“(Personal protective equipment) continues to be a huge hurdle for us,” Tigges said. “We’re trying to secure PPE for Spencer Hospital, for our long-term care facilities, our rural EMS, literally the entire world wants these things everyone needs these across the entire planet. I was able to secure some stuff Sunday for our long term care facilities. ... A state trooper brought some resources up, added up to our rural ambulance teams.

He continued, “We’ve reached out to the Century Farms distillery, … they’ve switched to making hand sanitizer. We’re working with them, Spencer Hospital has a need for hand sanitizer as does everybody. They’re hoping to be able to make hundreds of gallons so we can hopefully look forward to that and locally sourcing some of that stuff. As I sit here right now, there are no confirmed cases in Clay County. Sioux County has a case, the iron wall of northwest Iowa is chipping away somewhat. Jackson County just over the Iowa Great Lakes and Fairmont County both have as well, it’s creeping in on us for sure. I think at this point it’s safe to assume there’s people in our community that have this.”

“We have a set of PPE for every rural provider, so it may not be enough but at least it gives them peace of mind that they have something,” McKeever said. “We don’t suspect every person that may end up with this is going to be transported by ambulance, but at least gives them peace of mind they have protection for themselves.”

The supervisors discussed the potential challenges facing the multiple facets of county government as the pandemic and government response continues to be a fluid situation, able to change by the day.

“We are having a weekly conference call with Rides to update us on what’s going on,” Supervisor Burlin Matthews said. “As of last Thursday, other than sanitary things that are taking place in lots of different places, they’re still providing services.”

“That’s huge,” Supervisor Barry Anderson said. “A lot of people, that’s their only way to get around. I appreciate them still trying to do the best they can.”

“I appreciate the drivers hanging in there,” Supervisor Art Hamrick said.

Anderson asked Tigges if there are shortages or needs the county could intervene in. The emergency manager said establishing calm was paramount.

“Talking about trying to be a leader and remaining calm, so we don’t have people hoarding and purchasing things they don’t necessarily need,” Tigges said. “To just get that message out that we’re in this together and we’re going to take care of each other, let’s not panic. I think just that message is the most important.”

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