No Ebola Cases in Iowa; Preparation Continues

News

October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) continues to work closely with local public health and health care professionals, state entities and the CDC in response and preparation to the West African Ebola situation. Despite what you might read on social media or hear around the water cooler, there are and have been NO cases of Ebola in Iowa.IDPH

Last week, screening of travelers coming from Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia began at international airports at the time of arrival in the U.S. They are asked about things like current symptoms and possible exposures to patients with Ebola while in West Africa. If needed, appropriate action is taken at that time; for example, travelers with symptoms consistent with Ebola are not being allowed to continue until they are medically assessed. If they are well, they are given information about what to do once they arrive at their final destination – such as Iowa. Meanwhile, in Iowa, public health officials are notified of the arrival of the traveler. Iowa officials then re-interview the traveler to confirm their health status and their risk of exposure to Ebola. Appropriate action is then taken in Iowa, such as the traveler staying at home and away from others for 21 days, or
taking their temperature and reporting this to public health for 21 days.

This will lower the risk of Ebola spreading in Iowa, and should reassure the public that extraordinary action is being taken by the U.S. Public Health system to protect them. Other actions taken by IDPH over the past several weeks include several webinars for local public health agencies, emergency responders, hospitals, health care providers, and state agencies regarding transmission of the Ebola virus and how to prepare for any suspected cases.

Iowans should remember that Ebola is not transmitted through water, air, food or casual contact. Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person, or exposure to objects such as needles that have been contaminated. In addition:

* People are not contagious after exposure unless they develop symptoms.
* Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the
average is 8 to 10 days.

Graceland University placed on brief lockdown

News

October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

LAMONI, Iowa (AP) — Officials at a small private university in southern Iowa say a student is being questioned after the school was briefly on lockdown because of a campus threat. Graceland University spokesman Kirk Bjorland says the threat was resolved after the student was taken into custody Tuesday without incident. He did not elaborate.

The school posted on its official Twitter page and Facebook page around 11 a.m. Tuesday that the campus was on lockdown because officials had received a report of an individual with a gun on campus. Officials later said there was no active shooter on campus but an active threat.

Bjorland said there is no additional information available about the circumstances of the campus threat.

Graceland University is located in Lamoni.

Woodbury County supervisor gets 30 days in jail

News

October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Woodbury County supervisor accused of shooting a gun into the air near his wife has been given 30 days in jail. The Sioux City Journal reports 44-year-old David Tripp received the sentence Tuesday in district court for domestic abuse assault. He was ordered to report to jail by Friday. Tripp, a former jailer, was accused in December of firing a gun in the air in the driveway of his home. His wife was nearby but was not hurt.

Tripp said Tuesday he had thought about aiming the gun at himself. His attorney says his client is seeing a psychiatrist after being diagnosed with depression. He is also seeing a counselor for alcohol abuse.

Tripp was elected as a county supervisor in 2010. His term will end in January.

CAROL McCUEN, 69, of Casey (Svcs. 10/24/14)

Obituaries

October 21st, 2014 by Mark Saylor

Carol McCuen, 69, of Casey passed away Monday at Mercy Hospice in Johnston Iowa. Funeral Services for Carol McCuen will be held Friday at 10-30 at the United Methodist Church in Casey. Hockenberry Family Care of Atlantic has the arrangements.

Visitation with the family will be Thursday from 5 until 7 Thursday Evening at the Hockenberry Funeral Home in Adair. Burial will be at the Dalmanutha Cemetery.

Carol McCuen is survived by
Husband Lloyd of Casey
Children Kurt (Teresa) McCuen of Benson, Minnesota; Teresa (Dana) Garside of Grimes, IA; Lisa (Colby) McClung of Lincoln, NE.
Sisters: Sondra (James) Plowman of Weslaco, TX, Brothers: Ken (Pat) Kirkpatrick of Seneca, IL; and Todd (Connie) Kirkpatrick of Plymouth, IA

10 Grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren

CCHS follows recommended protocols for Ebola screening and preparation

News

October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

The Cass County Health System has begun screening patients for Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever indicators. In the ongoing effort to contain this virus, the Centers for Disease Control has recommended all healthcare providers implement this screening process in areas where patients could present with symptoms of Ebola. According to Todd Hudspeth, Chief Executive Officer, the screening is precautionary, as there have been no cases of Ebola diagnosed in the state of Iowa, and only three in the entire United States.

Hudspeth said “It’s a simple thing we can do to ensure the health and safety of our patients and community. On the off chance that someone local would contract a case of Ebola, early diagnosis allows us to ensure the proper infection control procedures and equipment would be used, thus limiting the spread of the virus.” The screening involves asking patients coming into Atlantic Medical Center, or the CCMH Outpatient Clinic, hospital inpatient areas and the Emergency Department four questions (see below).

Another precaution CCHS officials have taken is to assign an in-house Ebola coordinator, as recommended by the CDC. Dr. Patricia Goodemote, CCHS Chief Medical Officer, has been designated for this local role. “Dr. Goodemote is one of our Emergency Department physicians. Prior to coming to CCHS, she served for 24 years in the United States Air Force, where she received extensive disaster preparedness training,” Hudspeth explained. “She is monitoring CDC and Iowa Department of Public Health updates on a daily basis and will serve as our local expert with regard to Ebola updates and protocols.”

Dr. Goodemote states, “Although the risk for Ebola is low in Iowa, we want to be prepared. Fortunately, people coming from countries with Ebola patients are being screened on arrival in the United States and being followed closely by Public Health for 21 days to ensure they do not develop symptoms. In addition, if they have had any exposure to individuals with Ebola while in these countries, they are also being quarantined in their homes for 21 days. These measures are limiting the risk to all Americans. Realize if the person does not have symptoms they are not contagious.”

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, if an individual has been exposed to Ebola and begins to experience symptoms, they should self-isolate at home and immediately contact their healthcare provider or an emergency room by telephone. Then the appropriate infection control procedures can be implemented before the patient transfers for medical care to limit the risk to the community, but still allow for care of the individual.

Up-to-date information on the Ebola outbreak can be found on the Centers for Disease Control website, http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola.

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Ebola Hemoraghic Fever Screening Questions:

1. Have you (patient) traveled to West Africa (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, or Sierra Leone) in the past 21 days? (Circle one)

Yes No

2. If yes to Question #1, do you (patient) have any of the following symptoms? (Check all that apply)

___Fever more than 38.6 Celsius or 101.5 Fahrenheit AND

___Severe headache
___Muscle pain
___Vomiting
___Diarrhea
___Abdominal pain
___Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding)

3. Has anyone with the patient today traveled to West Africa (Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, or Sierra Leone) in the past 21 days? (Circle one)

Yes No

4. If yes to Question #3, does this person(s) have any of the following symptoms? (Check all that apply)

___Fever more than 38.6 Celsius or 101.5 Fahrenheit AND

___Severe headache
___Muscle pain
___Vomiting
___Diarrhea
___Abdominal pain
___Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding)

Giffords calls on women to highlight gun violence

News

October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords says that “dangerous people with guns are a threat to women.” She appeared in Iowa on Tuesday to rally female voters and inject gun control into one of the nation’s marquee Senate contests two weeks before Election Day. Giffords is nearing the end of a two-week national tour that includes stops in Minnesota, Oregon and Washington State this week.

The Arizona Democrat has become the reluctant face of the gun control movement. She was shot while meeting with constituents almost four years ago. The attacker killed six and left Giffords with permanent brain damage.

Giffords has pushed Congress unsuccessfully to expand background checks for all gun purchases. As the midterm elections approach, she’s fighting to ensure gun violence isn’t forgotten.

Winterset woman faces vehicular homicide charges

News

October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

WINTERSET, Iowa (AP) – A Winterset woman has been charged with vehicular homicide following a car crash in May that killed two people. Court records show 21-year-old Mari Silliman faces two counts of vehicular homicide. Des Moines television station KCCI reports she turned herself in earlier this month and is out after posting bond.

The single-vehicle crash in May killed 20-year-old Logan Waltz, of Winterset, and 21-year-old Taylor Aleman, of West Des Moines. Matthew Thomas Lindholm, an attorney for Silliman, says his client plans to plead not guilty to the charges. He says alcohol and drugs were not a factor in the crash, and there will be an investigation into road conditions prior to the crash.

Villisca woman cited for animal neglect

News

October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

A complaint from a citizen in Mongomery County has resulted in charges of Animal Neglect being filed against a Villisca woman. The Sheriff’s Office reports 20-year old Cheyanne Nicole Welcher faces two-counts of animal neglect, after an investigation.

Officials from the City of Villisca seized two puppies belonging to Welcher from the 100 block of west 5th Street, in Villisca. The puppies were placed in the care of the Southern Hills Vet Clinic, in Villisca.

USDA: Iowa corn harvest 18 days behind schedule

Ag/Outdoor, News

October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The harvest remains behind schedule in Iowa but weather conditions are favorable for allowing farmers to try to catch up.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says Iowa is about 18 days behind the normal corn harvest pace with 19 percent harvested while typically at this time more than half of the crop is in. Nationally, only a third of the crop is in when normally half is finished by now. The Iowa soybean harvest is nine days behind schedule with 61 percent harvested, less than the 77 percent average. Nationally, just over half the crop is in. The average is 66 percent.

The USDA says in its weekly update released Monday 93 percent of the corn crop and 94 percent of soybeans nationally are in fair, good or excellent condition.

New department policy aims to help Iowa families

News

October 21st, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Department of Human Services caseworkers are taking a new approach in child welfare cases that emphasizes helping families deal with their problems. The idea, called differential response, is to not launch formal investigations into parents when there are questions about a child’s well-being but no signs of abuse or imminent danger. Instead, caseworkers connect families with assistance to help them get their lives back on track.

The Des Moines Register reports examples of minor concerns include a messy house or a child who wanders off and is later found by a neighbor. The department said that social workers have used this approach almost 40 percent of the time during the first half of 2014 when looking into cases about a child’s welfare.