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The Scarlet & Black

IDPH urges self-quarantine for Iowans returning from COVID-19 hotspots

By Andy Pavey

In a statement, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommended 14 days of self-isolation for Iowa residents returning from several countries affected by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

Currently, the travel notice affects those returning to Iowa from China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy and South Korea.

The list may grow as COVID-19 travels further. According to the IDPH, there are no confirmed cases in Iowa, “however, experts predict there will eventually be community spread.” Just 39 people in the state of Iowa have been tested as of March 4.

“We recognize staying at home for 14 days is an inconvenience, but it is an important way to limit the spread of a variety of illnesses, including COVID-19. The Department urges employers to work with staff to consider flexible leave policies and tele-working options,” said Dr. Caitlin Pedati, IDPH Medical Director.

Several prevention measures were recommended by the Department, including covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow; washing hands frequently with soap and water; and containing germs by staying home while ill. The Centers for Disease Control do not recommend that healthy people use face masks.

Symptoms may include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and may occur in anywhere from two to 14 days after initial exposure.

The advisory comes amid a slew of restrictions at Grinnell College, including the cancellation of all sponsored international travel until further notice.

The College is also evaluating housing and dining accommodations for international students on an F-1 visa, who fear additional travel restrictions imposed by the U.S. government which might bar them from reentry into the country after Spring Break.

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