The University of Iowa sent notices to students on Thursday, March 19, 2020, regarding its first report of coronavirus on campus. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa has received notice of a student who reported they tested positive for the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

While the Iowa Department of Public Health typically does not identify where a positive case of the virus has been identified, the UI released the information, as the student self-identified that they had tested positive.

Related: Iowa confirms community spread of coronavirus

The UI released the following letter to students on Thursday, March 19, 2020:

A member of our University of Iowa community has self-identified they tested positive for COVID-19.

A student in the College of Dentistry shared the news with college leadership, who immediately contacted Johnson County Public Health (JCPH). The individuals with whom the student had close contact have been identified and notified, which includes a single patient seen by the student while the student was symptomatic. The student was last on campus at the College of Dentistry on March 12, 2020, does NOT live in the residence halls, and is currently self-isolating in a location off campus.

In addition, the College of Dentistry has communicated with students, faculty, and staff, and is providing support to the student who has tested positive and everyone in the college as needed. The college also disinfects all operatories, etc., after routine protocol for blood-borne pathogens and has intensified these efforts.

It is NOT the practice of Iowa Department of Public Health to notify employers or institutions of a positive case. The university is able to share this news because the student self-identified, but the university will NOT be able to report each time a member of the UI community tests positive moving forward.

Please know you do NOT need to be tested unless you had direct contact with someone who has tested positive AND have symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing). Testing is currently limited; your health care provider can determine if you need testing or treatment. Treatment is based on your symptoms and testing will not change your medical treatment.

If you believe you may have been exposed to the virus or are experiencing symptoms, DO NOT walk in to QuickCare, Student Health, any UI Health Care clinic, the State Hygienic Lab or any emergency room. Instead, follow these procedures:

Students: Call or email the Student Health Nurseline (319-335-9704) ( or your local health care provider and inform them of your travel history and symptoms. After hours and on weekends, call the UI Hospitals & Clinics at 319-384-9010 or the 24-hour helpline, 319-384-8819, or your local health care provider. You may also schedule a video visit through MyChart.
Faculty and Staff: Call your health care provider or the UI Hospitals & Clinics (319-384-9010) and inform them of your travel history and symptoms, or schedule a video visit through MyChart.

It is important to know that your privacy will be maintained by your provider.

Social distancing is how the community can stop the virus from spreading. Remain out of congregate settings, avoid mass gatherings, and maintain safe distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible.

Accurate information, preparation, and evidence-based practice are powerful tools to help ease feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. Find accurate information about COVID-19 from reliable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the World Health Organization (WHO), and more locally the UI’s coronavirus website, where frequently asked questions for students, faculty, staff, and parents are updated regularly.

Important and up-to-date information can be found on the university’s website.

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