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Warren County residents with a respiratory illness should assume they have COVID-19 and stay home, said Warren County Public Health nurse Jodene DeVault during a special meeting of the Warren County Board of Supervisors Wednesday.

Warren County has just one confirmed COVID-19 case as of Wednesday morning, said DeVault, but “there are more cases than that.”

The board of supervisors passed an emergency declaration Wednesday and extended the closure of county facilities until further notice.

“This opens up state assets, we’ve already been working on those assets,” including personal protective equipment (PPE) for emergency medical service providers, said Troy Bass, Warren County Emergency Management supervisor, of the declaration. “There is none right now, but they are working on stuff.”

The declaration also opens up resources for low-income residents, public partners and infrastructure, he said. Bass said that cities within Warren County also had passed emergency declarations.

DeVault, who was among about 20 people who called into the meeting via Zoom, told the board that Warren County should “still should be doing some very significant social distancing. There’s a lot of our population still trying to figure out what that is.”

People should disinfect their workspaces on a regular basis, she said, but the virus generally isn’t spread on surfaces.

“It’s by each other,” she said. “I would recommend that the supervisors consider keeping our doors locked and serving people by appointment only.”

DeVault also noted the ongoing lack of testing.

“Testing should be widespread right now and it’s not because of a lack of supplies,” she said. Some experts now question whether people should get tested in light of the lack of supplies, she added, since medical personnel have to use PPE when administering the test.

“Let’s save that PPE for people we have to serve who are sick with this virus,” she said.

The board voted unanimously to keep facilities closed until further notice, in conjunction with direction from Governor Kim Reynolds.

The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Tuesday, April 7, at 9:30 a.m.

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