IOWA — Thirteen people now being monitored for the coronavirus in Iowa according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. The organization reports that while most COVID-19 cases are associated with travel to or from China, person-to-person spread is now being reported in other places, including Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.
“There are currently no cases of COVID-19 in Iowa, and there is no person-to-person spread in the U.S”, the Iowa Department of Public Health stated on their website. “For the general public, who are unlikely to be exposed to the virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is low.”
As of this report, state health officials have completed public health monitoring on 31 people. Only three people have been tested for COVID-19 and all came back negative.
In Illinois, health officials have completed public health monitoring on 76 people. Of the 76, 70 tests came back negative, 4 are pending, and 2 people in Illinois have tested positive for the virus.
Chicago, Illinois’ largest city, is monitoring “hundreds” of recent travelers for any signs of the virus and supporting some who are in isolation, Allison Arwady, the city’s public health commissioner, said at a live-streamed news conference with Pritzker and other officials.
Illinois, one of several U.S. states to have had confirmed cases of the respiratory disease, was the first state to be able to run testing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Officials emphasized that the risk to the general public was still low.
Preparing for COVID-19
IDPH and its public and private partners have continued to prepare plans and procedures in case they should be needed. It is important for Iowans to prepare for the potential of COVID-19 in the same way they prepare for severe weather or other events that could disrupt their normal routine.
- Make a plan and discuss it with your family. What would you do if you could not go to work or school because of illness? What if your daycare provider was ill? How would you get groceries if you were ill? These are all questions to think about.
- It is normal to be concerned about a new virus.
- Being uncertain and anxious about COVID-19 is normal, especially with reports of illness and death in other countries.
- It is important to understand the risk of influenza is much higher than the risk of COVID-19 in Iowa right now.
- Prevention of COVID-19 is the same as that for other respiratory illnesses (like flu):
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper arm/elbow
- Clean your hands frequently with soap and water
- Contain germs by staying home when ill
On January 31, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar II declared a public health emergency for the entire United States to aid the nation’s healthcare community in responding to the 2019 novel coronavirus. On January 30, the World Health Organization determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
To what areas has travel been restricted?
The CDC has issued several travel alerts for areas affected by COVID-19. Visit the CDC’s Information for Travel page for the most up-to-date alerts.
What if I previously traveled to Wuhan, China?
- If you traveled to China in the last 14 days and feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing, you should:
- Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a healthcare office, call ahead and tell them about your travel and your symptoms.
- Not travel while sick.Avoid contact with others.
- Cover your mouth with your upper arm when coughing or sneezing
- Wash hands often.
It is important to note there are seven different coronaviruses known to infect humans. There are four common coronaviruses (229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1) that circulate widely. Most people will get infected with one or more of the common human coronaviruses in their lifetime. IDPH recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth with your upper arm or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
CDC does not recommend face masks for the general public.
For the Public
Guidance for Travelers – CDC