WCPH Director expects increase in COVID-19 cases as state opens

Washington County Public Health
Washington County Public Health

WASHINGTON — Washington County has seen fewer cases of the novel coronavirus recently, but that could change as more businesses open, according to the Washington County Public Health (WCPH) Director.

Danielle Pettit-Majewski said she expects an increase in numbers but that is to be expected. Test criteria has been expanded to include child care workers and those attending child care, she said.

Currently in Iowa, about 3 percent of COVID-19 cases are in individuals 17 and younger but that may increase with more testing, she said. The Iowa Department of Public Health has updated its website to include a live tally and updates the cases as they are confirmed, she said.

Services are available for those in need and Washington County residents who depend on Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) have been receiving full benefits. Kate Klefstad, Clinical Services Manager at Johnson County Public Health, said the organization typically brings staff to Washington County to complete interview but it has all transitioned to phone interviews thanks to a federal waiver.

Johnson County Public Health handles the WIC program for four area counties, including Johnson, she said.

Klefstad said there has been no hap in services since the transition in the first week of April and the agency has seen the highest rate of kept appointments in its history. The average no-show rate in Washington County is 15 percent but has dropped to 2.86 percent, she said.

In other news, three communities within the county will be receiving water fountains this summer. Pettit-Majewski said the WCPH Department received a grant for $11,700 to go toward the purchase.

Kalona, Riverside and Washington County Conservation have expressed interest in the water fountains, she said. Because the grant is not enough to purchase one for each municipality, all will need to match funds for the purchase.