- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Public Health issued a travel notice Tuesday telling Iowans returning from any country with COVID-19 cases to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.

The countries meeting that description include China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea.

“If they become ill and need to seek medical care, they should call ahead to their doctor’s office and inform them of their recent travel,” said Dr. Caitlin Pedati, an epidemiologist serving as Iowa’s public health medical director.

She asked that employers consider flexible leave policies and tele-working options.

There are no confirmed cases of the virus in Iowa but experts expect infections are likely.



Iowa public health officials are monitoring five people who recently traveled to China, Pedati said.

Testing on three of them has returned negative and results are pending for the other two.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday the state is doing its own COVID-19 testing at a state laboratory in Iowa City. It can return test results in about four hours, she said.

State agencies have been making plans and coordinating with health care professionals to ensure a quick response to infections.

“We’re still a very low risk here in Iowa but we want to be prepared in case we see that change,” Reynolds said.

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