by Charlotte Eby - Managing Director of Government Affairs, LS2group
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First COVID-19 diagnoses in Iowa
Gov. Kim Reynolds activated the State Emergency Operations Center Sunday after three Iowans tested positive for coronavirus or COVID-19, the first such cases in the state. State public health officials continued to report additional Iowa cases as the week wore on. As of Thursday morning, a total of 14 Iowans had tested positive for the virus.
The people at the center of the first cases are from Johnson County and had recently been part of a cruise in Egypt. The individuals were isolated at their home to avoid transmission to others. The other diagnosis was in Pottawattamie County on the western edge of the state. State Epidemiologist Dr. Caitlin Pedati said public health officials were assessing potential exposure to additional individuals.
“These cases are an important reminder that all Iowans need to help prevent the spread of illness by washing hands frequently, staying home when ill, and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue,” she said.
The state’s three public universities – Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Northern Iowa – announced classes would move online for two weeks starting March 23 to help mitigate any potential spread on campus. Students were strongly encouraged to stay home during this time, although residence halls and dining services will remain open.
“We know how disappointing and disruptive this is to our students, faculty and staff,” said Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen in a statement. “This decision was made in consultation with the Board of Regents out of an abundance of caution to prioritize health and safety as the outbreak continues to spread and circumstances rapidly evolve.”
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