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Control spread of COVID-19 in your household

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Some Marshalltown families are dealing with multiple members afflicted with COVID-19. Pat Thompson said it is important for those members to isolate themselves in separate rooms immediately.

The COVID-19 pandemic spreads the fastest through families. 

The intimate nature of family life and the dependence people have on loved ones has led to the pandemic spreading through homes. 

Family’s like Aubrey Does’ had one member’s virus turn into three, as she and her mother-in-law tested positive for COVID-19 last week after her young son caught the disease from a friend. 

“The first thing you should do is self-isolate the person who has COVID-19,” said Pat Thompson, Marshall County Public Health Director. “That means they go into a room by themselves and they have their food and drink brought to them and they’re not mingling with the family at all.” 

Bathrooms should be sterilized after use as well. 

“The rest of the household needs to stay home for 14 days and self-isolate,” Thompson said. “We know that’s not an easy thing to do, but that’s how we stop the spread.” 

The reality of a family member catching COVID-19 impacts an entire household, including any friends or family who have visited. 

This has become more necessary as Marshall County had one of its deadliest weeks with three people dying from COVID-19 since last June 23 and 125 new positive cases.

Everyone who came into contact with a family member who has tested positive for COVID-19 cannot go out and needs to be tested. 

“Household can happen easily,” Thompson said. “That’s why we want to separate someone who is sick right away.” 

Being closer than 6 feet from a person who has tested positive for the virus is considered significant contact. 

“That’s why we have them stay home,” Thompson said. “It is a very contagious virus.” 

Staying home for 10 days is the minimum amount of time someone should remain quarantined, and they should not have had a fever for 24 hours. 

It is not an easy task to accomplish. If a member of a family is completely dependent on another, like in the case of a toddler or infant, family members cannot separate or isolate just them. 

“If you think that child should see a doctor, make sure you do that,” Thompson said. 

After a child recovers, the parent needs to isolate again for another 10 days, Thompson said. 

“We really want people to go out for only essential services,” she said. “It’s hard to go through. I would wear a mask while taking care of the child.” 

It’s possible to be an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19, meaning a person won’t show symptoms even though they are carrying the virus. 

“Do the best you can,” Thompson said. “It’s not just COVID-19. It’s a virus.” 

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Contact Thomas Nelson at 641-753-6611 or tnelson@timesrepublican.com

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