FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2020
Contact: Nancy Sacquitne RN, BSN 563-382-4662
Winneshiek County Public Health Advises
Against Easter Travels
Easter and spring holidays are a traditional time of family gatherings, celebrations and
observances. Like many other events and activities, Winneshiek County Public Health
advises residents that these observances should be different this year.
“We know many families gather together over Easter and Passover,” said Winneshiek
County Public Health Director Krista Vanden Brink, “But, like school, shopping and
most other activities, we’re asking residents to modify their plans in light of COVID-19.”
Remain attentive to staying home if at all possible. Limit doing essential errands to one
time per week and send only one (1) family member to do those errands.
Gatherings of family and friends, whether in Winneshiek County, or by travel to other
states, is discouraged. When people come together, the chances of spreading the COVID19 virus grow. Although people with symptoms of the virus (coughing, fever and
shortness of breath) obviously should not be around other people, even those who are
seemingly well should do the same. “We are learning that some people with coronavirus
don’t have any symptoms, and that even those who later develop symptoms can pass the
virus to others before showing symptoms. This is why even people who do not feel ill
should stay home,” said Vanden Brink.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is highly recommending wearing a mask in
public – these can be homemade cloth masks. It is important to remember to maintain
good hand washing whenever at home or out doing errands to keep your hands clean.
Families and friends are encouraged to find alternate ways to observe holidays and to stay
connected. Try Skype, Zoom, FaceTime or other electronic means of connecting, and
phone calls and letters are especially welcome during this time of social distancing.
As of today, April 9, 2020 there are 5 cases of COVID-19 in Winneshiek County.
Winneshiek County Public Health continues to work closely with the Iowa Department of
Public Health (IDPH), and other state and local partners to respond to this ongoing
pandemic. Currently, three cases have completed isolation and are able to return to work
or be out in the community. Follow-up is done with the positive cases by Winneshiek
County Public Health.
For up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the IDPH webpage at
https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus and follow the
department on Facebook at @IowaDepartmentOfPublicHealth and on Twitter at
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media contact: Morgan Hawk (319) 786-4040
Alliant Energy gives $1 million to Hometown Care Energy Fund
Donation helps income-eligible customers in Iowa with energy costs
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – April 9, 2020 – Alliant Energy (NASDAQ: LNT) is making a $1 million donation
to its Hometown Care Energy Fund in Iowa. The fund assists customers that need financial help to pay
Alliant Energy knows that many customers may face financial hardship due to the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic. This contribution shows Alliant Energy’s ongoing commitment to serve customers in Iowa
and help those in need.
The Hometown Care Energy Fund is supported annually with funds from Alliant Energy shareowners, as
well as voluntary contributions from employees, retirees and customers.
“We know that many customers need help paying their bill or may need additional help due to the
pandemic,” said Linda Mattes, Vice President of Customer and IT Operations at Alliant Energy. “We are
coming together with customers, employees, retirees and shareowners to help our neighbors.”
Alliant Energy partners with nonprofit organizations in Iowa to distribute the funds. Customers can review
income eligibility requirements and apply for funding by contacting the Community Action Agency.
If you or someone you know is having difficulty paying a bill, visit the new Alliant Energy My Account site
to set up a payment plan based on ability to pay. On My Account, customers can also set up fee-free
credit card payments, review account information and report outages.
The contributions by Alliant Energy’s shareowners are not included in the rates charged to customers.
More information on the Hometown Care Energy Fund can be found at alliantenergy.com/hometown care.
For tips to reduce energy use and save money, Alliant Energy shares 10 tips.
Alliant Energy Corporation (NASDAQ: LNT) provides regulated energy service to 970,000 electric and 420,000 natural gas custom ers across
Iowa and Wisconsin. Alliant Energy’s mission is to deliver the energy solutions and exceptional service customers and communities count on –
safely, efficiently and responsibly. Interstate Power and Light Company and Wisconsin Power and Light Company are Alliant Energy’s two public
energy companies. Alliant Energy is a component of the Nasdaq CRD Sustainability Index, Bloomberg’s 2020 Gender-Equality Index, and the
S&P 500. For more information, visit alliantenergy.com and follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagramand Twitter.
COVID-19 Outbreak Guidance for Businesses
Businesses should implement measures to enable social distancing as much as possible.
Consider staggering shifts to reduce worker population at any given time.
Stagger breaks to reduce staff interactions.
Review procedures to identify ways to increase the physical separation of staff.
Businesses should prioritize hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette among employees.
Businesses should provide or allow employees to wear their own homemade cloth facemasks.
Businesses should provide hand sanitizer or handwashing opportunities as frequently as possible.
Screen all employees by taking their temperature and assessing for cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing or
any other respiratory symptom at the beginning and end of each shift. For a screening algorithm visit:
Exclude all employees reporting fever or respiratory symptoms (these cases will be directed to stay home and
isolate themselves from other people and animals in the home) until they:
Have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that
reduces fevers) AND
Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.
Exclusion criteria must be followed with all symptomatic employees, regardless of whether the testing is
completed (even if the employee tests negative for COVID-19 infection).
Please report to the Iowa Department of Public Health when 10% or greater of your employees are reporting
COVID-19 symptoms (including fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, or any other respiratory
symptom). Report to public health by filling out the survey at this link:
Coordinate with your occupational health provider to define a pathway to test symptomatic employees.
Public health will approve State Hygienic Laboratory testing for symptomatic employees during outbreaks.
The occupational health provider or employees’ personal health providers will be responsible for collecting
the nasopharyngeal swab for testing and following-up for medical care as needed.
When employees test positive for COVID-19 infection, public health and occupational health will work jointly
to investigate cases and identify the following contacts:
rideshare partners, and
co-workers with prolonged contact (within 6 feet of the case for at least 30 minutes).
All of these contacts will be directed to stay at home and isolate themselves from other people and animals in
the home for 14 days after the last known exposure to a person with COVID-19
Businesses should consider excluding high-risk employees when outbreaks are ongoing. High-risk employees
People aged 65 years and older
People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including:
o People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
o People who have serious heart conditions
o People who are immunocompromised
Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer
treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies,
poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune
o People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥40)
o People with diabetes
o People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
o People with liver disease
Business decisions to close, should be based upon workforce availability and the ability to follow the
recommended measures outlined above.
* Outbreaks are defined as greater than 10% of employees ill with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, sore
throat, difficulty breathing, or other respiratory symptoms)
To conserve our masks for use by our health care workers, we are asking that anyone entering Winneshiek Medical Center for an appointment, urgent or emergency care, or otherwise, wear their own mask, scarf or face covering. If you do not have anything that can cover your mouth and nose, we do have some masks at each screening area (Main Entrance and Emergency) for use. Thank you for your understanding.
Tips for Managing Electric Use During COVID-19
Cresco, IA | Rushford, MN (10 a.m. April 8, 2020)— As local families and businesses transition to remote-work and distance learning, they may see a surge in home energy use – and in upcoming electric bills.
“MiEnergy Cooperative understands the increased financial hardships facing families and businesses due to the economic impact of COVID-19,” said Brian Krambeer, president/CEO. “If you are having difficulty paying your electric bill, please give us a call so we can set up a payment plan. We will work through this together.”
Simple money-saving steps can help lower monthly electric bills without jeopardizing safety or comfort. It’s important for families to be mindful of their energy use and consider adjusting certain habits to avoid higher costs later on.
Recommended energy-saving tips include:
- Program your thermostat to maximize energy savings. Setting your thermostat one degree lower when heating or one degree higher when cooling can reduce energy use by up to 5%.
- Do full loads of laundry and wash with cold water. Using warm water instead of hot can cut a load’s energy use in half and using cold water will save even more.
- Air dry dishes. This step can cut your dishwasher’s energy use by up to 50%.
- Substitute LEDs for conventional light bulbs. Lighting can amount to up to 12% of monthly energy use. LED bulbs can cut lighting costs by 75%.
- Unplug appliances and electronics when not in use. Small appliances and electronics use energy even when not in use. When powered on, game consoles, televisions and similar electronics are responsible for up to 12% of energy use.
The cooperative’s website, www.MiEnergy.coop, has online energy use guides available including 101 Easy Ways to Save Energy and Money. Another tool for members of MiEnergy is SmartHub. Creating an account allows users to track their hourly, daily, monthly and yearly electric use. Find it online at www.MiEnergy.coop or search for SmartHub where apps are downloaded.
MiEnergy Cooperative is a member-owned electric distribution cooperative and is the result of a merger between Hawkeye REC, of Cresco, Iowa and Tri-County Electric Cooperative, of Rushford, Minn. in 2017. It maintains 5,500 miles of power lines covering most of Fillmore, Houston and Winona counties in Minnesota and Chickasaw, Howard and Winneshiek counties in Iowa. The cooperative also serves small pockets bordering those counties. It provides electricity to more than 18,800 members in northeastern Iowa and southeastern Minnesota. MiEnergy is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.
Call Iowa Concern for Help Coping with the Stress of COVID-19
AMES, Iowa – Social distancing, self-isolation, quarantine: the changes from COVID-19 can be hard to handle. However, Iowans can turn to Iowa Concern for help, says Tammy Jacobs, coordinator for the long-time service from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
With a toll-free phone number, live chat capabilities and a website, Iowa Concern services are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week at no charge. Iowa Concern provides access to stress counselors and an attorney for legal education, as well as information and referral services for a wide variety of topics.
To reach Iowa Concern, call 800-447-1985; language interpretation services are available. Or, visit the website, https://www.extension.iastate.edu/iowaconcern/, to live chat with a stress counselor one-on-one in a secure environment. Or email an expert regarding legal, finance, stress, or crisis and disaster issues.
“All personal information given to Iowa Concern, whether on the hotline or through e-mail or live chat, is kept confidential,” Jacobs said.
She also suggests visiting Human Sciences Extension and Outreach’s “Finding Answers Now” website for additional information and resources on dealing with stress.
Social distancing, self-isolation, quarantine: the changes from COVID-19 can be hard to handle. Call Iowa Concern for help, 24/7. Connect with emotional support. Learn about your legal rights and find other assistance. Talk to a person who cares. Call Iowa Concern at 800-447-1985. That’s Iowa Concern at 800-447-1985.