- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 11, 2020

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 14th person who was among a group of 21 Iowa residents recently aboard a cruise in Egypt has tested positive for COVID-19, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday evening in a statement.

The news came the same day that an Iowa City hospital CEO revealed another COVID-19 patient who took the same cruise was admitted to the hospital and was in critical condition.

“All proper procedures and precautions were followed during the admission process, and staff members were properly protected,” according to an email from Suresh Gunasekaran.

Both patients are among the group that went on an Egyptian cruise in late February and early March sponsored by Hills Bank in Hills, Iowa. Bank President Dwight Seegmiller said in an email Wednesday to The Associated Press that the group was part of the “Hills Bank Friends Club.” All participants were between the ages of 61 and 80.

The Iowa Department of Public Health said an additional 21 tests taken in Iowa came back negative.



For most people, COVID-19 caused by the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness could take up to six weeks to recover.

The health threat has forced officials across the country to cancel or otherwise change plans for mass gatherings.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade Society decided Tuesday to call off this year’s event in Cedar Rapids and to refund parade entrants. Special Olympics Iowa announced Monday that it canceled the 2020 Mid-Winter Tournament in Iowa City.

The virus also prompted the leaders of Iowa’s three public universities to shift to only online classes beginning March 23 in an effort to keep students and faculty safe. The University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa said they would only offer online classes after students return from next week’s spring break. Some private colleges are making similar moves.

All Des Moines area hospitals also announced Wednesday that patient visitation will be temporarily limited to patients’ primary caregivers, such as parents and spouses.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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