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DES MOINES, Iowa – Testing at Iowa’s State Hygienic Laboratory has indicated three presumptive positive cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iowa residents. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), the individuals are from Johnson County: one middle-age (41-60 years) adult and two older adults (61-80). Two of the individuals had underlying health conditions. One did not. None required hospitalization and are recovering at home in isolation. 

“The state of Iowa has been coordinating plans across state agencies, including a partial activation of the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), to protect the health of Iowans and assess our operational needs. While these are the first cases, it may not be the last and it’s why Iowans must continue to practice safe habits like hand washing and staying home from work when sick,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds. “My team is engaged through the President’s Coronavirus Task Force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, as well as the nation’s governors to work collaboratively to limit the spread of COVID-19.” 

“All three individuals were part of a cruise in Egypt,”said IDPH Medical Director and State Epidemiologist, Dr. Caitlin Pedati. “IDPH is working with local public health to assess potential exposures to others. 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.”

COVID-19 was first linked to an outbreak in Wuhan, China, but cases have subsequently been identified in several countries, including the U.S. These are the first cases identified in Iowa. Confirmatory testing is pending at CDC.

No additional or special precautions are recommended for Iowans beyond the simple daily precautions to combat the flu 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.

For more information about novel coronavirus, visit https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus.  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.

Watch Reynolds’ press conference below:

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