Council hears COVID-19 update

Eighty-three people are currently in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 in Hamilton County, according to Shelby Kroona, county public health administrator.

Kroona presented an update to the City Council on Monday night during the regular council session.

She said during the week of Oct. 2 through 9, Hamilton County had 43 positive cases and last week, there were 44 cases. The last week in September, there were 12 cases. Today, there were five new positives.

“Ninety percent of these were in the 50595 (Webster City) zip code,” she said, adding that she now has the ability to get the COVID-19 information via zip code.

She said that what is being found in contact tracing are entire households of illness.

“What I mean is, the entire household is being exposed at an event or birthday party or funeral — it doesn’t matter what the event is — but family is there together. One person gets tested, recording just one positive person. The rest of the family is just treating themselves, quarantining and not testing,” she said.

The issue for the health department, according to Kroona, is that skews the positivity rate and prevents a clear picture of who is ill.

“In the contact tracing, we do discover that multiple people in the home are ill,” she said.

She said that the positive cases in recent weeks have come from a wide age range. It’s not just the young adults, she explained.

“This is hitting every age bracket that the state uses,” she said.

Other council business

The City Council also approved a recommendation from Hotel/Motel Tax Board to set an automatic allocation to the Webster City Chamber of Commerce each year.

The tax board supported providing a total of $27,000 each year for the chamber each January. A resolution for renewal would have to be passed every three years to continue the measure.

Community Vitality Director Lindsay Henderson said for next year, the chamber would have $19,105.35 in carry over grant funds due to the cancellation of events this year with the pandemic. So the new grant funds next year would be $7,894.65.

“The committee had discussed whether this amount would be a fixed amount or a percentage of the yearly tax revenue,” Henderson said. The group eventually settled on the fixed amount.

Henderson said the chamber most closely reflects the intent of the grant funding — attracting visitors to the community.

The City Council also accepted the work and authorized payment in the amount of $51,340 to Mid Iowa Site Services of Fort Dodge for completion of the 2019 building demolition project. Included in that project were structures at 1014 Elm Street, 940 Third Street, 1021 Clark Street and 313 Broadway Street.

Requests from the police chief, fire chief and line department supervisors for the purchase of portable radios were also on the agenda. The police department requested three portable and six mobile radios, totaling $41,127. The fire department asked to purchase seven portable radios at a cost not to exceed $34,600 and the line department sought 10 portable radios in an amount not to exceed $18,300. The council approved the requests.


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