In-person visitation at long term care facilities in Guthrie County remains limited as the County has had a 14-day positive average percentage for COVID-19 exceeding 10% in the last few weeks.

The Iowa Department of Public Health released new visitation guidance on October 1st, which expands the definition of compassionate care visits from not exclusively referring to end-of-life situations. Guthrie County Public Health Director Jotham Arber says these visits are being allowed at local facilities, “There are new guidances and they do allow for in-person visits but right now with where we are those are limited to those compassionate care and end-of-life visits. And we hope that we can see that positivity rate continue to come down and eventually allow them to go back to having some indoor and outdoor visitation with some safety precautions in place.”

Guthrie County has frequently seen a positivity percentage of over 15%, which labels it as a red zone for new cases. Lakeside Village Manager Amanda Creen says the senior housing community is currently only allowing compassionate care visits and outdoor visits, and can only move to general indoor visits when the County positivity percentage drops below 10%, “It’s been tough, we miss our families. I want nothing more than to open my doors and have it be exactly like it always is and we just gotta wait it out a little bit longer.”

Examples of compassionate care visits include residents who are grieving after a friend or family member that has recently passed away, those who need cueing and encouragement with eating and drinking, and those experiencing emotional distress seldom speaking, or crying more frequently. According to the county’s dashboard, as of Thursday there are 347 positive COVID-19 cases, 207 that have recovered, and 14 deaths.