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Positive results up in Wright County

CLARION — Increased COVID-19 testing efforts in Wright County this week have resulted in 32 additional positive results since Wednesday.

Late last week and through this week, the Wright County Health Department and Iowa Specialty Hospitals have been conducting “proactive surveillance testing” of employees of the larger businesses in the county, Wright County Supervisor and Public Information Officer Karl Helgevold said.

As of press time on Thursday, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported 73 total positive cases in Wright County.

Since the pandemic began, 885 Wright County residents have been tested for the novel coronavirus, about 7 percent of the county’s population. Of those tested, 811 results were negative while 73 were positive.

Of the previously reported positive cases, seven have since recovered.

This week, 294 Wright County residents were tested through this proactive surveillance testing of larger employers. There have been 192 negative results and 52 positive results. As of Thursday evening, there are still 50 tests awaiting results.

All 52 positive results so far through this testing effort are from individuals who had shown no symptoms of COVID-19 infection, Helgevold said.

“All individuals that test positive, whether they have shown symptoms or not, are being contacted and instructed to isolate and we are conducting contact tracing,” said Sandy McGrath, of Wright County Epidemiology.

The testing and the positive results aren’t coming from just one county employer, but a scattering across the whole county, Helgevold said.

The supervisor lauded the cooperation from county businesses during this time.

“It’s a benefit in our county that we actually have good relationships wtih our employers,” he said. “Some of these counties don’t have great relationships. We’ve been really open and they’ve been open with us and we’ve got a good working relationship and that’s what’s caused us to be able to go in and test these people.”

While the county expected a sharp increase in positive results through this testing effort, Helgevold said with the large number of asymptomatic individuals testing positive it’s incredibly important to stay prudent and continue to take extra safety precautions.

“Although the state is loosening some of the restrictions it is very important that the citizens of Wright County continue to be diligent in practicing social distancing and wearing face coverings as we are seeing an increase in positives at this time,” he said.

Helgevold said that this surveillance testing will continue through the middle of next week. The county will then look into periodically re-testing samples of employees across the county as they may have tested negative in the past, but later contract the virus.

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