The fact that COVID-19 symptoms can range from mild to more severe is one of the very main reasons residents are asked to STAY HOME. The more individuals limit interactions with others, the more successful the community will be at limiting the spread of the illness.
The CDC release updated guidance on the use of cloth face coverings. This guidance recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other physical distancing of at least 6 feet is difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The use of simple cloth face coverings is intended to help slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.
Surgical masks and N-95 masks are important personal protective equipment that is needed for our health care workers and first responders. Members of the public should not use N-95 or surgical masks in order to help preserve them for those workers that need them.
Wearing a mask in public does NOT minimize the need to practice physical distancing and handwashing. These will still be our greatest tools for helping slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
Remember, if following the #1 recommendation to stay home as much as you can, your likelihood of catching the virus is decreased. And your likelihood to spread the virus is decreased.
Recommendations on cloth face coverings:
For General Public
As of 3/22/2020, it is recommended that Iowans self-isolate themselves from other people and animals in the home in the following situations. Isolation should be in place for 14 days after the last exposure.
Traveled outside of Iowa for business or vacation in the last 14 days.
Taken a cruise anywhere in the world in the last 14 days.
Live with someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19.
Full guidance can be found here: https://idph.iowa.gov/Portals/1/userfiles/7/3_22_20%20FINALIsolation%20guidance%20for%20Iowans.pdf
What does self isolation mean?
For Essential Services Personnel
Essential services personnel includes the following categories:
Isolation guidance for essential services personnel is a bit different. Essential services personnel are still allowed to go to work as long as they remain asymptomatic and monitor their temperature at the beginning and end of their shift. Learn more about guidance for this group here: https://idph.iowa.gov/Portals/1/userfiles/7/3222020UpdatedIsolation%20guidance%20for%20Iowa%20essential%20services%20personnel.pdf.
Recommendations for travel have changed and now include those who have traveled outside of Iowa for leisure or business. See self isolation guidance above.
The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. Consider postponing non-essential travel within the United States. If travel is necessary, monitor the spread of COVID-19 at your destination and along your route. If COVID-19 is spreading at your destination, you may be at higher risk of exposure if you travel there, especially if you are an older adult or have underlying health conditions. Upon your return to Iowa, practice the self-isolation guidance listed above.
Visit the CDC for guidance on travel: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel