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Officials: 177 new cases, 4 deaths this week

More than half of Webster County's deaths have occurred in last 5 weeks

Webster County Public Health reported 177 new COVID-19 cases in the last four days.

In the same week, the Iowa Department of Public Health said four more in the county have died from the virus, bringing the county’s death toll to 39.

Well over half of the county’s total number of deaths and infections have occurred in the last five weeks. The county now has experienced a total of 4,211 cases, as new infections steadily increase at nearly the same rate sustained over November.

Of all the cases, 232 remain open under public health monitoring.

The county’s positivity rate for the last 14 days is 20.1%. The average rate in Iowa is 16.7%. The county’s high rate remains an indicator of how quickly the virus is spreading.

Webster County Public Health continues to plead with residents to wear a face mask correctly when leaving the house, practice social distancing of at least six feet, wash hands frequently, limit gatherings, only leave home when necessary and stay home when sick.

In Fort Dodge, wearing a face covering over the nose and mouth is mandatory in most buildings open to the public. If you have questions about mask requirements, call Webster County Public Health’s special mask hotline at 515-227-7155.

Due to the number of COVID cases and the need for testing, it may take time to get a testing appointment. Testing is available at multiple sites throughout Webster County including the following:

• UnityPoint Health: Call your primary care provider.

• Community Health Center of Fort Dodge: Call ahead to 515-576-6500 for urgent, routine or COVID-19 rapid testing to make an appointment.

• Iowa Specialty Clinic: Call ahead to 515-955-6767 for COVID-19 rapid testing. Patients at the Iowa Specialty Clinic must be symptomatic to receive testing.

Webster County Public Health does not conduct testing, but analyzes and acts on the testing information provided by medical providers before issuing U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance and contact tracing as necessary.

The agency advises those without health insurance in need of testing to inform their scheduler when making an appointment. If you are awaiting test results, the public health department said it is imperative to self-quarantine until receipt of the test results.

Webster County Public Health’s COVID Hotline remains available to residents with questions regarding COVID-19 including quarantine, isolation guidance and exposures. The hotline is available by phone at 515-227-7153 or via email at WebCoCOVID@WebsterCountyIA.org.

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