Gov. Kim Reynolds

Just hours after offering no new guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Iowa, the office of Gov. Kim Reynolds reported the first death tied to the virus in the state.

Reynolds stressed the need to keep Iowa’s economy going during her press conference today.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has killed 544 Americans as of March 24.

The CDC reported a total of 44,183 cases in the U.S. as of today.

More: Coronavirus confirmed at Cedar Rapids nursing home

The following was issued by the Iowa governor’s officer on March 24, 2020:

DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) learned late today of the first death associated with novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual was an older adult, 61-80 years of age, and a resident of Dubuque County.

“Our hearts are heavy with the first loss of an Iowan to COVID-19. The thoughts and prayers of our state are with the family during this difficult time,” said Gov. Reynolds. “I continue to urge all Iowans to protect their health and the health of others, especially older individuals and those with chronic health conditions who are most at risk. We all have a role to play in limiting the spread of this virus.”

Related: Linn County reports first cases of COVID-19

Health experts offer the following recommendations to help avoid the spread of COVID-19:

Practice social distancing and avoid handshakes.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; If soap and water are not available then use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick. If you need to see a health care provider, call first.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Keep a distance of at least 6 feet from other people to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.