Sergeant Bluff closes city hall, community center after rise in staff exposed to COVID-19

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Health officials continue to monitor a rise in COVID-19 cases across the world and Siouxland is no different with twelve counties in the region dealing with “high” or “substantial” transmission of the virus.

It was a quiet day at Sergeant Bluff’s City Hall and at the town’s Community Center after Mayor Jon Winkel made the decision to close both buildings for the entire week, August 2-6, due to half of the city’s staff either being infected or exposed to COVID-19.

“Our intention is to be open in a week or less. We’re just doing this as a precaution to protect our residents that interface with our city staff,” said Winkel.

Currently Woodbury County is in the “substantial” transmission category with an average of eight new cases a day. That number, however, is up 103% over the last 14 day span.

Siouxland District Health Deputy Director Tyler Brock explains why he’s not shocked about the uptick in cases.

“This virus tends to do what this virus is going to do and so we’ve got a good weapon at our disposal with the vaccine to help us with some of those serious cases, and I think we could still utilize that to help us out with this situation,” said Brock.

The CDC released guidelines last week recommending people wear masks indoors, even if fully vaccinated if the area has seen widely spread virus transmission. Brock said how difficult it is for the CDC to put stats like transmission rates into context.

“I think that they’re trying to put some type of a measurable, tangible thing on something that’s not quite that simple,” said Brock.

Brock expressed that he doesn’t expect COVID-19 to disappear altogether but that the vaccine is still the best bet to slow down infections and prevent hospitalizations and deaths.

“There is still a possibility that people even if they’ve been vaccinated can become infected and may be infectious to other people, but again, we just want to emphasize to people that those infections are almost always much less severe,” added Brock.

Brock still recommends those who are exposed to COVID-19, especially within the same household, should still self-quarantine because the virus can stay in the system for up to ten days.

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