Public Health Officials here in Webster County released a statement Tuesday Night regarding two covid-19 related deaths. One of the people who passed away was a Webster County resident between 61-80 years old. The other was an inmate at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility in that same age bracket. The Iowa Dept. Of Corrections released the identity of the inmate, 71 year old Ray Allen Vanlengen. He passed away at University Of Iowa Hospital after being transported there from the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility. He did have preexisting medical conditions and was serving a maximum sentence out of Black Hawk County for sex crimes. As of Tuesday there were 61 confirmed cases of inmates at the prison with covid-19 and 5 staff members. The prison has now restricted all in person visits to their facility as of result of the outbreak. Public Health officials attribute a large portion of the spike in cases to the outbreak at the prison. They cited increased testing and close contact testing associated with the prison outbreak as reasons for the increase in cases . Webster County Public Health Director Kari Prescott said “as we continue testing at the prison numbers will rise because inmates are in close quarters”.
Webster County Public Health says they are seeing multiple cases of people who are working while sick as well as close contact personal spread. Prescott said “Our biggest request of Webster County residents is to stay home if you aren’t feeling well”.