MASON CITY — Despite the number of active COVID-19 cases decreasing below what was seen at the start of the November spike, the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health director says now is not the time to start being complacent about coronavirus.
Brian Hanft says one of the key reasons is the identification of the so-called “UK Strain” variant of the virus has now been found in Iowa. “The State Hygienic Lab and the Iowa Department of Public Health announced that we do have the B117 variant here in Iowa. It’s certainly not a surprise. That variant comes out of the UK. It travels and spreads easier. The intensity of that illness as far as does it make people sicker, that jury is still out.”
Hanft says people still need to continue with good hygiene practices. “We’ve got to continue to wear masks, continue to be socially distanced. If you’re sick, please, please, please stay home. We’re still getting calls, people literally had no symptoms or literally a mild runny nose. If you have those symptoms, please stay home. It is critically important that you stay home and see how you’re doing.”
Hanft says if you have any doubts about if you have COVID-19, don’t hesitate to get tested. “Testing back in the day we were talking about limited testing. Testing is available now. People can get tested rather rapidly and get in, get tested, and make sure you don’t have the illness.”
Hanft made his comments during the weekly City of Mason City and Cerro Gordo County COVID-19 press conference that you heard on AM-1300 KGLO this week.