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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Following Thanksgiving travel and gatherings, is Iowa bound to see surge in virus cases?

The Polk County Health Department thinks the days and weeks following Thanksgiving will follow a similar pattern to the Fourth of July and Labor Day.

As many Iowans are returning home from the holiday time off and some visited their families against warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you might have some questions about getting tested and quarantining. 

Local 5 News: So if someone was traveling, and they met up with people outside of their immediate household, should they quarantine now and for how long?

Nola Aigner Davis, Polk County Health Department: So according to the White House [Coronavirus] Task Force, they put out information yesterday that said, assume everyone who traveled has COVID. So I think what we should really do is think about if you traveled outside of your immediate bubble, to probably go into quarantine, and that means going into quarantine for 14 days.

Local 5: Okay, and what about a COVID test? Should everybody be getting one now that they've come home?

Aigner Davis: Well, I mean, that's a good question. So really, if you are having signs and symptoms of COVID, you need to be getting tested. So signs and symptoms, having a fever, having a cough, having a runny nose, having a headache, body fatigues. If you have those symptoms, call your health care provider to see if they think you should be getting tested.

Local 5: Okay, and what about the entire household ... if we have kids, and we traveled with them? A lot of kids are online learning now, but some are not, so should everybody quarantine? 

Or how do you decide who stays home? Who doesn't?

Aigner Davis: So I think the biggest thing is, again, if you have traveled outside of your immediate bubble, you're putting yourself at risk. And so that's always the time where you want to be quarantining because again, we don't know if we have been exposed or not. 

We don't know if we have symptoms or if we're asymptomatic. 

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So the best thing is to again, quarantine for that 14 days to make sure that you do not have COVID-19. 

Local 5: The CDC warned Americans, asked, begged—whatever you might call it—not to travel over Thanksgiving, not to be with people outside of our household, not going to even small gatherings of people. Millions of Americans did it. We know that. 

What are you expecting in Polk County to come out of these decisions that people made?

Local 5: Every time we see a holiday in Polk County we see a surge of cases.

So this is Labor Day, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Halloween, we always see a surge of cases. So we are very, you know, we're predicting that we'll see a surge in cases. And that's really hard right now for us because our hospitals are still full.

We are still seeing lots of positive cases. And this is just a surge that we cannot have right now.

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