CORONAVIRUS

Iowa City VA, Quaker Oats employees test positive for coronavirus

VA employee tested positive on Tuesday, officials say

Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City. (The Gazette)
Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City. (The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — An employee at the Iowa City VA Health Care System has tested positive for COVID-19, as has an employee at Quaker Oats, the organizations said Wednesday.

The unidentified VA employee is at home in isolation, but no other details of that individual’s condition were released. A statement from the Iowa City VA said staff members who had close contact with the infected employee were also at home “to mitigate exposure.”

According to a statement from the health care system, veterans and staff are encouraged to continue taking everyday preventive actions to mitigate their risk, including washing hands often, use hand sanitizer frequently and stay home if feeling ill.

The VA is screening veterans and staff who present with symptoms, including fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Patients who have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with symptoms would call the VA before going to the facility.

Veterans who feel they may be at risk for exposure should contact the Iowa City VA at (319) 338-0581 and press 5 for an initial health screening.

PepsiCo, parent company of Quaker Oats, on Wednesday said an employee at its Cedar Rapids manufacturing facility has tested positive.

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In response, Quaker Oats has identified and asked employees who worked closely with the patient to self-quarantine for 14 days. The company also has temporarily closed certain lines and common areas at its facility so they can undergo deep cleaning.

“Consistent with guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and other health authorities, the employee is quarantined and receiving medical care,” a PepsiCo spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “We are unable to disclose additional details around this individual in accordance with privacy laws.”

PepsiCo said there currently is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of the coronavirus.

“PepsiCo continues to enforce already strict preventive safety and sanitation measures in all our locations,” the spokesperson said.

Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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