On the morning of Tuesday, Aug. 4, McLeod County had 138 confirmed cases of COVID-19. When speaking to the McLeod County Board that day, Megan Mohs, interim Health and Human Services director, said she knew of 10 more.
By Friday afternoon, the number of McLeod County cases had grown to 173, meaning there had been 48 new cases in the past seven days — the highest percent increase in the state for that time period. On Monday, the number was 197.
On Aug. 4, Mohs told board members the increase in that time was tied in part to seasonal workers that had moved to the county, including 500 arriving to work at Seneca Foods Corp.
“A lot of those employees do come up from Texas, which is a COVID hot spot right now,” Mohs said.
She said Seneca was working hard to take care of its employees, but due to the nature of the business and the close proximity of employees, there is risk.
“Despite everyone’s efforts, we are seeing a small uptick,” Mohs said.
In an email Friday morning, McLeod County Administrator Sheila Murphy acknowledged the increase in confirmed cases throughout the week.
“We are working diligently with our state and local partners to follow up, as we always do, with any suspected cases,” she said. “We are actively evaluating what additional resources need to be implemented in order to address the increase in cases. No specifics are available at this time.”
Murphy added that more information will be shared when it is available. A reporter reached out to Murphy and Mohs for comment Friday afternoon.
At the Aug. 4 County Board meeting, Mohs noted a few potential COVID-19 vaccines are in trials.
“Based on what the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is currently telling us, most would require two doses,” Mohs said.
She said distributing the vaccine will pose a large logistical challenge, and she is not sure if it will be feasible before the end of the year or beginning of next year, but believes Public Health will play a role. To that end, McLeod County has started making plans.
“Some of these vaccines are showing very positive results,” Mohs said.
Meanwhile, McLeod County has distributed 1,500 masks to local businesses, many of which were chiropractic offices. That leaves 4,400 earmarked for local businesses. The county can also use the supply as needed, and is looking to receive more.