COVID-19 in Iowa live updates for March 11: Coe College extends Spring Break by 1 week

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Corona
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. (CDC via AP)

9:00 P.M. Coe college extends spring break by one week

From the Coe College Facebook page:

“Coe College has made the decision to extend the regularly scheduled spring break by one week. The break begins after classes on Friday, March 13 and will extend through Sunday, March 29. The purpose of this extension is to provide the college time to plan, monitor the progress of the virus and the evolving guidelines from public health agencies and adapt courses to online modalities in the event that becomes necessary. Classes will resume in person on March 30.”

8:00 p.m. Iowa City School District investigating online schooling for rest of semester

With more than a dozen Iowans in self-quarantine after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, school districts across the state are assessing how they could continue to reach their students if schools needed to close.

In Johnson County, where most of the patients in Iowa who have tested positive for COVID-19 live, the Iowa City Community School District is reviewing how it could provide remote, online instruction to its roughly 14,000 students.

7:45 p.m. Big Ten, Big Big Twelve tourneys to be held in front of empty stadiums

The NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships at the U.S. Cellular Center — as well as the Big Ten and Big 12 men’s basketball tournaments in Indianapolis and Kansas City, respectively — have been closed to the general public.

The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships next week in Minneapolis — where Iowa is the favorite — also will have limited access.

7:30 p.m. Hills Bank confirms it sponsored group in Egyptian cruise linked to Johnson County coronavirus cases Johnson County residents who tested positive for COVID-19 — including one who was admitted to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Wednesday — were part of a travel group sponsored through Hills Bank and Trust.

The bank, headquartered in Hills, Iowa, confirmed to The Gazette on Wednesday the Egyptian cruise that state public health officials say is tied to some of Iowa’s first the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, cases was part of a trip offered to members of the bank’s Friends Club.

4 p.m. Pints and Politics, business breakfast rescheduled

Live broadcast of The Gazette’s Pints and Politics, scheduled for Thursday, March 12, has been postponed until November. An in-studio edition will be aired at noon, Friday, on Iowa Public Radio’s “River to River.”

A new date for Thursday’s Business Breakfast on workforce resources, also postponed, will be announced as soon as it’s confirmed.

Those who purchased a ticket specific to these Gazette events may apply credit toward the rescheduled date or obtain a refund by contacting or (319) 398-8240.

1:33 p.m. CDC awards Iowa $6 million for COVID-19 response

The state of Iowa is receiving more than $6 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support the response to COVID-19, federal officials announced Wednesday.


The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services announced that the CDC would award more than $560 million to state and local partners to support the nation’s response to the novel coronavirus infecting thousands across the globe.

“Our state, local, tribal and territorial public health partners are on the front lines of the COVID-19 response. The action we are taking today will continue to support their efforts to increase public health capacity where it’s needed most,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield in a news release. “These funds will allow public health leaders to implement critical steps necessary to contain and mitigate spread of the virus in communities across the country.”

12:45 p.m. UI suspending face-to-face instruction

The University of Iowa on Wednesday announced to its community that it’s “suspending face-to-face instruction for two weeks following spring break.”

The university, from March 23 to April 3, will move to virtual instruction, according to the email that came from UI President Bruce Harreld and Provost Montse Fuentes. (More from Vanessa Miller)

12:03 p.m. WHO declares COVID-19 a Pandemic

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who heads the World Health Organization, said the WHO is “deeply concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity” of the outbreak. He also expressed concern about “the alarming levels of inaction.”

“We have, therefore, made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” he said at a briefing in Geneva. (Video here)

“All countries can still change the course of this pandemic. If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response,” Tedros said.

8:10 a.m. UIHC treats first COVID-19 patient

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics early Wednesday sent an email to its faculty and staff notifying them that it has admitted its first COVID-19 patient, who “remains in critical condition in our care.”

The email to faculty and staff reports the hospital was alerted in advance of the coronavirus patient’s arrival and prior diagnosis.

“All proper procedures and precautions were followed during the admission process, and staff members were properly protected,” according to the email. “Our preparation ensured that the patient did not come in contact with anyone who was not properly protected.” (More information from Vanessa Miller, who broke the story, here)

7:30 a.m. SaPaDaPaSo parade canceled

The SaPaDaPaSo organization decided late Tuesday night to cancel this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade due to the current health situation.

“For 45 years this parade has gone on through gale force winds, heavy rain, sleet and sunny times. Our focus is and always will be for the SAFETY and well-being of our participants, spectators, volunteers and the community,” a SaPaDaPaSo social media post announced.

Full refunds will be provided to parade participants, SaPaDaPaSo stated.

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