The Iowa Department of Public Health was notified Saturday of another case of novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, bringing the total to 18 positive cases in the state and the first that has no known source of infection.
Gov. Kim Reynolds called a press conference the evening of March 14, 2020 to make the announcement.
Read on for more from the Governor’s Office:
DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been notified of one additional positive case of an Iowan with COVID-19, for a total of 18 positive cases. The individual is an older adult age 61-80, and a resident of Dallas County.
Addionally, IDPH has determined, based on the new COVID-19 case and the announcement this evening of community spread in Omaha, Neb., there is now community spread in our state.
Community spread occurs when individuals have been infected with the virus in an area and cannot specifically identify the source of the infection, or do not know how or where they became infected.
Due to the detection of community spread, there are new recommendations for individuals with underlying conditions, and all Iowans should be prepared for cancellations and disruptions in routine activities.
Mitigation measures should be implemented immediately to have the most significant impact on slowing the spread of the virus. Leaders of institutions and organizers of events should begin to act on their contingency plans related to large gatherings, including church services. Iowans should not hold or attend large gatherings of more than 250 people, and consider making adjustments for smaller gatherings with high risk groups.
Health care organizations should also review their contingency plans and consider how telehealth can support the needs of Iowans. At this time, school closures are not recommended.
Based on CDC guidelines: If a school has a positive case in a student, faculty member or visitor, we recommend a short-term suspension of a few days for cleaning to mitigate spread of the virus.If there is significant absenteeism of staff and students, they should consider a short to medium length suspension of 2 to 4 weeks. For substantial community spread, longer suspensions of 4 to 8 weeks or more are recommended.
Iowans should do their part to protect their health and the health of others: Individuals 60 years of age and older with underlying conditions should stay at home and avoid gatherings or other situations of potential exposures, including travel to affected areas.
Consider personal social distancing measures: avoid large gatherings, limit the number of attendees per gathering. Consider working remotely or online learning when possible. Encourage staff to telework (when feasible), particularly individuals at increased risk of severe illness. Limit non-essential work travel and gatherings. Follow CDC guidance regarding school closures if a school-based case is identified, implement short term suspension for school cleaning and contact tracing, and alter schedules to reduce student mixing. Cancel extracurricular activities as needed.
A public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431.