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The Polk County Health Center has confirmed three additional deaths related to COVID-19 for the county.

According to a Thursday, Sept. 10, news release, the deaths occurred through the course of the past week.

“The individuals were over the age of 65 with underlying health conditions,” the release said.

As of Thursday evening, the health center has identified 447 positive cases of COVID-19 in Polk County and four deaths total.

“The most difficult part of the COVID-19 pandemic is losing people to the virus,” Michelle Morris, Polk County Health Center Administrator, said in the release. “To all of you who have lost loved ones, we are deeply sorry.”

Morris said the deaths remind the county and its residents “that the work ahead requires that we continue to ensure access to testing, early treatment and care, and economic support among those communities at higher risk of devastating outcomes associated with COVID-19 is essential.”

The release said the health center reminds everyone that if they are ill, even with mild symptoms, to stay at home until they are fever and symptom free for 72 hours.

“If you have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is presumed to be infected with COVID-19, you must quarantine for 14 days from your last contact with that individual,” the release said.

Individuals who are elderly or who have underlying health conditions may be at higher risk of serious illness and should contact their doctors as soon as they are sick, the release said.

The health center said the best protection against COVID-19 is to wash hands frequently, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, self-isolate if sick, practice physical distancing, especially by staying at home, and wear a clean face covering when in contact with others outside the household.

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