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Wearing masks is sign of respect, civic duty

It became evident early in the coronavirus virus pandemic that older adults and those with certain medical conditions are at higher risk for complications and death, and that nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable. The Iowa Veterans Home has been able to limit the impact on our residents through strict infection control procedures that were implemented shortly after the outbreak. IVH employs over 800 employees, most of whom live in the Marshalltown community, and many of them have direct contact with our residents. It is critically important for them to practice social distancing and maintain appropriate PPE use while on duty. But it is equally important for them to take precautions outside of work.

As our state begins to open up and its citizens start to resume normal activities, we ask that the citizens of Marshalltown continue to be cautious. Although there is still some controversy about the frequency of transmission by asymptomatic people, it seems prudent to operate under the assumption that anyone could be a carrier, at least until we know more about this virus. Most masks offer minimal protection to the person wearing the mask, but are very helpful in preventing the spread to others. In public places, masks are worn to protect those around us, not oneself. The choice to wear a mask should not be perceived as a sign of weakness or a political statement. Rather, it should be viewed as a sign of respect and a civic duty to protect our fellow citizens, including our elderly and vulnerable.

According to federal and state guidelines, our ability to relax restrictions depends on many factors including new cases in our facility, community infection rates and availability of medical services in the community. Our residents have been quarantined for months and are struggling with the impact on their quality of life. We need your assistance to start the process of reopening and ask the citizens of Marshalltown to help us protect our veterans and their spouses by doing everything possible to stem the transmission of this virus in our community. Our Marshalltown community has supported IVH throughout this pandemic. Our residents and staff thank you. Please practice social distancing and wear your masks, especially in crowded enclosed public places. It is the least we can do to honor those who served.

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