The Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory has confirmed three Iowans from Johnson County have contracted COVID-19 otherwise known as the Coronavirus Flu. The Iowa Department of Health says that two adults aged between 61 and 80 years old and one adult between 41 and 60 years old are afflicted, however none required any hospitalization. The Department stated that they are recovering at home in isolation.
One Friday, the Governor began to mobilize state health agencies to respond any possible outbreak. Reynolds held a press conference on Sunday to discuss the outbreak.
“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. 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.”
According to the Iowa Health Department, the three afflicted individuals returned from a cruise in Egypt. It is not known if the three individuals came into contact with after returning from the Middle East.
Meanwhile in Minnesota, State Department of Health officials confirmed a second presumptive positive case of novel COVID-19. The afflicted individual lives in Carver County and had just returned from traveling in Europe in late February. As is the case in Iowa, health officials have confined the patient to their home and are awaiting confirmation testing results from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials are now working to locate anyone who came into contact with the infected person.
Both health departments in Iowa and Minnesota are asking anyone who may have come into contact with the four individuals in both states to confine and quarantine themselves at home for 14 days.
Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm emphasized the important role every Minnesotan can play in helping to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“While our public health workers are busy tracking down potentially exposed people and evaluating potential cases, the rest of us must do our part,” Commissioner Malcolm said. “First and foremost that means staying home when you are sick. It also means covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands frequently, and avoiding touching your face throughout the day.”
Since the outbreak started in China in December 2019, more than 107,700 cases and 3,600 deaths have been reported in countries around the world. That total includes more than 500 U.S. cases and 21 deaths.
The virus that causes COVID-19 is spread primarily by respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza is spread. It can also spread when people touch surfaces that have been contaminated by an infected person and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.