Friday, September 18, 2020

Isolation vs. quarantine

In this video, Dr. Paul Natvig, director of University of Iowa Student Health, explains the difference between isolation and quarantine, and how each measure helps slow the spread of COVID-19 on campus.


University of Iowa self-reported COVID-19 testing

These data reflect new cases since Sept. 16, 2020.

The University of Iowa has published an updated snapshot of self-reported positive COVID-19 tests from faculty, staff, and students.

Number of self-reported cases of COVID-19


  • New cases: 43
  • Semester-to-date: 1,879


  • New cases: 1
  • Semester-to-date: 33

These numbers reflect only self-reported positive or presumed positive COVID-19 tests from UI faculty, staff, and students on the academic campus since Aug. 18, 2020. These data will not match data reported by the UI Hospitals & Clinics or by the Iowa Department of Public Health for several reasons, including different testing time intervals and geographic scope. Students who also are employees of the university are only reported in the student number to avoid double counting. The UI has more than 30,000 students and nearly 30,000 employees. Many employees continue to work remotely but have self-reported to authorize sick leave.

Number of residence hall students in quarantine: 0*

Number of residence hall students in self-isolation: 21**

*Quarantine: Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others.

**Self-isolation: Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus (those who are symptomatic and those with no symptoms) from people who are not infected.


Understanding the Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) structure

With more than 30,000 students and almost 30,000 employees, the University of Iowa is nearly as large as the 10th most populous city in Iowa. Like most cities and government agencies during an emergency, the university establishes an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and follows the Incident Command System (ICS) structure outlined in the National Incident Management System (NIMS). This is a standard best practice designed to enable teams with a variety of skill sets to work together in an emergency to save lives, stabilize incidents, and protect property and the environment.

At Iowa, the president assigns specific positions to the EOC based on the type of incident or emergency, and the appointed group is commonly referred to as the Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT). The positions reflect ICS structure under NIMS and include:

  • Incident commander
  • Safety officer
  • Public information officer
  • Planning section chief
  • Operations section chief
  • Logistics section chief
  • Finance and administration section chief

Additional individuals are then assigned to each section to represent various emergency support functions (ESF) like medical care, housing, research, and academics. While the CIMT is charged with ensuring critical tasks are completed in a timely fashion, all decisions must:

  • Align with local, state, and federal guidance
  • Reflect the direction of the governor and Board of Regents, State of Iowa
  • Be approved by the president

As the CIMT worked to develop policies and processes for mitigating the spread of COVID-19, it solicited input from various experts across campus. For example, in the spring, the CIMT established several planning teams to create operational scenarios for returning to campus, including the Positive Case Response Work Group and Health and Safety Work Group, which include members of the Carver College of Medicine and College of Public Health.

It also ensured Iowa’s EOC structure also reflected the Shared Governance process, with Faculty Senate, Staff Council, Undergraduate Student Government (USG), and Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG) leaders serving on planning teams and now as liaison officers to the CIMT. The EOC structure is not intended to replace existing decision-making processes, but rather maximize flexibility and responsiveness during an emergency.

A full organizational chart may be reviewed on the coronavirus website.


CAMBUS updates: UV light system, driver barriers installed, and front door boarding to resume

In response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, CAMBUS practices are being continually evaluated and adjusted so essential transportation services can continue to be provided. One area of focus to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is enhanced bus cleaning and sanitation practices. In addition to the disinfecting processes added in March, a UV light system has been implemented as part of the disinfecting process. Hand sanitizer dispensers also were recently installed near the rear doors.

Transparent barriers have been installed to shield drivers and allow font door boarding to resume. Riders should begin entering through the front door beginning Monday, Sept. 21. The rear doors will be an exit only.

Riders needing to use an accessibility feature to exit should exit through front doors. Read more about and see images of the UV light system and driver barriers on the Parking and Transportation website.