DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds today signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency, activating the disaster response and recovery aspects of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s Emergency Response Plan. The proclamation authorizes state agencies to utilize resources including personnel, equipment and facilities to perform activities necessary to prevent, contain and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 virus.
Testing at Iowa’s State Hygienic Laboratory has indicated five additional presumptive positive cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iowa residents, bringing the total to 8 presumptive positive cases, all related to travel. All are recovering at home in isolation. Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Pubic Health (IDPH) announced on Sunday that three Iowans were confirmed to have the virus.
According to IDPH, individuals in four of the new cases reside in Johnson County, were all older adults (61 to 80 years) and were on the same Egyptian cruise as the previous three presumptive positive cases. The remaining individual lives in Pottawattamie County, is a middle-aged adult (41 to 60 years) and recently traveled to California. Testing for the Pottawattamie case was performed in Nebraska.
A status report of monitoring and testing of COVID-19 in Iowa provided by IDPH can be found here. In addition, a public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1.
COVID-19 was first linked to an outbreak in Wuhan, China, in Dec. 2019, but cases have subsequently been identified in several countries including the U.S. The first presumptive positive cases in Iowa were identified on March 8.
Iowans can help prevent the spread of illness by following simple daily precautions including washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when ill. It is currently flu and respiratory disease season, and IDPH recommends getting the flu vaccine. Influenza activity is widespread in Iowa and as long as flu viruses are circulating, it’s not too late to receive the vaccine.