Sunday, March 8, 2020

The below message was sent to UI faculty, staff, students, and students' families on Sunday, March 8, 2020.

On Sunday, March 8, 2020, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced three presumptive positive cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in residents of Johnson County, Iowa. The individuals, one middle-age (41–60 years) adult and two older adults (61–80), were all on an overseas cruise to Egypt. The cruise took place Feb. 17 to March 2, with residents returning to Johnson County on March 3.

None required hospitalization and all are recovering in isolation at home.

The University of Iowa is closely monitoring this development and will follow recommendations from IDPH. At this time, the presumptive positive cases do not immediately impact the operations of the University of Iowa. The UI will continue to take proactive actions for the health and safety of faculty, staff, students, and visitors and remains fully prepared to diagnose and treat any potential patient who might be infected with COVID-19.

Any decision to change current operations, including student instruction, will made in conjunction with IDPH and Johnson County Public Health, the governor, and the Board of Regents. The university will continue its preparation efforts that began in January using its Critical Incident Management Plan.

According to the IDPH, no additional or special precautions are recommended for Iowans beyond the simple daily precautions to combat the flu, including washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when ill. Those on campus should continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for preventative measures you can take to stay healthy, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces by using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a face mask:
    • The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
    • The use of face masks is crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).

If you are experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) and have traveled to an area with widespread COVID-19 transmission or otherwise feel you may have been exposed, please follow the below guidelines:


Call or email the Student Health Nurseline (319-335-9704) ( or your local health care provider and inform them of your travel history and symptoms. After hours and on weekends, call the UI Hospitals & Clinics Integrated Call Center at 319-384-8442 or toll free 800-777-8442 or your local health care provider.

Faculty and Staff:

Call your health care provider or the UI Hospitals & Clinics Integrated Call Center (319-384-8442 or toll free at 800-777-8442) and inform them of your travel history and symptoms.

In all cases it is important to know that your privacy will be maintained by your provider.

The university will post updated information on as it becomes available. Please check announcements there regularly.