CORONAVIRUS

Iowa moving from COVID-19 prevention to mitigation, Gov. Kim Reynolds says

Gov. Kim Reynolds discussing COVID-19 with other state officials during her weekly news conference Tuesday, March 10, 20
Gov. Kim Reynolds discussing COVID-19 with other state officials during her weekly news conference Tuesday, March 10, 2020. (Screen image from Gov. Reynolds’ Facebook video)

DES MOINES — Eighteen Iowans returning home from the Grand Princess cruise liner are not showing signs of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, state public health officials said today, but they are being asked to self-isolate.

Also, Gov. Kim Reynolds said all 21 Iowans who were on an Egyptian cruise ship have been contacted. Fourteen are at home under quarantine, and 10 have been tested for COVID-19. They had limited interaction with their communities, the governor said, but she didn’t answer questions about those interactions or which airports they had traveled through.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation,” she said, adding “we don’t have all the answers at this time.”

The total number of confirmed positive cases of the novel coronavirus remains at eight, she said.

“The reality is COVID-19 is now here and we can expect the number of tests and the number of positive cases will continue to increase in the days to come,” Reynolds said. “While this news is concerning, it is not cause for alarm.”

Reynolds described the state public health response as “moving from prevention to mitigation.”

“We’re not suggesting that you stay home and stop your normal routine, but we are urging all Iowans to be responsible about your health and the health of others,” the governor said.

If COVID-19 testing is necessary, all major insurance companies in Iowa have agreed to waive cost-share and copays, Reynolds said. That includes Medicare, Medicaid, Wellmark, Aetna, Benefit and UnitedHealthcare.

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While there are concerns about large gatherings, Reynolds said she’s given no thought to shortening the legislative session, which is scheduled to continue for at least another 40 days, or to limiting large gatherings at the Capitol. Public health officials are offering guidance to businesses and schools on if and when closures would be appropriate.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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