Black Hawk County's coronavirus status was updated from “elevated” to “moderate” Tuesday after health officials announced the seventh positive case in the county.

The case is the first in Black Hawk County believed to be community spread. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the latest case involves an adult who is between the ages of 41 and 60.

“We cannot tie this case to a specific exposure. The individual is not sure how or where they became infected,” Black Hawk County Public Health Director Dr. Nafissa Cisse Egbounye said at an afternoon press briefing. “Because of not being able to identify this exposure, we are considering this to be community spread."

A "moderate" threat status indicates some degree of transmission in the county. An "elevated" status means cases have been diagnosed in the county without an signs of being community spread.

County officials urged the public to continue to following the recommended guidelines on social isolating and social distancing, especially staying six-feet apart and keeping group gatherings to a maximum of 10 people.

“There is a large section of population in our community that has taken that very seriously, and we're greatly appreciative of the fact that they have,” said Sheriff Tony Thompson, commander of Black Hawk County's Emergency Operations Center. “However, I think there is still a segment of the population that is very, very naive to the assertion that this can't happen to me.”

Thompson emphasized being vigilant now is more important than ever.

“When we tell you that we need you to socially isolate and socially distance and we tell you that we need you to take a personal investment in yourself and your family, we're not doing that because this is a ME environment anymore. We're telling you that because this is a WE environment,” he said. “Everybody that you come in contact with puts you at greater risk and puts your family at greater risk. That investment is critical.”

Health officials believe Iowa is entering the critical stage of the coronavirus pandemic and they're preparing for a surge of patients. A respiratory clinic is scheduled to open Wednesday at the Kimball Ridge Center in Waterloo to treat patients with symptoms of COVID-19.

“We're thinking we might see a peak – a first peak – in two to three weeks," Sarah Reisetter, deputy director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, said Sunday during Gov. Kim Reynolds' news conference. "It should be every Iowan's assumption that the virus is circulating in their community."

Sheriff Thompson said Tuesday: “Think about WE, not ME. It's too easy to get caught up in this narrow focus about the things that personally affect you every single day. Right now, what we're trying to do is protect the population of Black Hawk County and, quite frankly, the state of Iowa.”

State officials announced Tuesday that 73 more Iowans have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the state-wide total to 497. Among those diagnosed with COVID-19 are two adults in Marshall County -- one between the ages of 18 and 40 and one between the ages of 41 and 60 -- and one adult in Tama County, who is between the ages of 18 and 40.

For the first time, a child was listed among those diagnosed with coronavirus. The youngster is from Polk County, whose age is between 0 and 17.

Also Tuesday, health officials announced the state's seventh death. They revealed that the person who died was a Muscatine County adult who was between the ages of 41 and 60.

To date, nearly 6,900 people have tested negative for the coronavirus in Iowa.

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