SIDNEY, Iowa (KMTV) — As the coronavirus is spreading across Iowa, Fremont County still has no confirmed cases of the virus.
The county, which is located on the southwest corner of Iowa, bordering Nebraska and Missouri, is one of 15 counties in the Hawkeye State to not have a confirmed case yet. County health leaders believe it is not a matter of if, but when a case of COVID-19 comes to Fremont County.
“I don’t anticipate we get out of this without having a case but we haven’t had one yet,” said Jamie Behrends, Director of Fremont County Public Health.
“We’re a smaller community than a lot of the other places, we’re not as densely populated,” said Mike Crecelius, Fremont County’s Emergency Management Director.
Crecelius said people who work inside the county courthouse are meeting with people outside of the office on a by-appointment only basis and many businesses across the county have either closed or changed their business model to maintain operations while keeping patrons at safe distances.
“The banks, it’s drive-up only, the food establishments in town it’s the same thing, it’s carry-out only and your order ahead,” Crecelius said.
Both Behrends and Crecelius said being a rural community is playing in to having no confirmed cases. Unintentionally, occupations such as farming already practiced social distancing before the pandemic. However, they said the county still monitoring for the virus.
“Contrary to the rumors that people say nobody is getting tested in our county we’ve had 24 people tested and they’ve all come back negative,” Crecelius said.
“There is testing. We advise that everybody call ahead and our healthcare workers are evaluating those and deciding who needs to be tested. I think that might be part of the reason for the less cases is we’re evaluating good and we’re keeping people home that are safe to be home,” Behrends said.
Fremont County leaders know the first case will come soon enough and for now their goal is to keep its spread minimal once it’s here.
“Follow the rules,” Crecelius said. “Because our governor said we don’t need to do a total quarantine and stay home. She has implied we shouldn't go out unless you need to be and that’s what I recommend.”
“Continue to do what the governor says, maintain your social distancing and only go out when you need to, stay home when you’re sick,” Behrends said.
“Make sure your kids know that this isn’t summer vacation and they should stay home too.”
Watch reporter Phil Bergman’s story in the above video.