Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Some infect animals, some infect people, some infect both.
There are seven of these viruses known to infect humans and four of them are common and result in
mild to moderate cold-like symptoms. Most people are infected with at least one in their lifetime. Three
of the coronaviruses are rare (MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and 2019-nCoV) and can cause more severe
symptoms. COVID-19 is circulating in Iowa communities and many more Iowans are likely to become ill
in the coming weeks.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough and shortness of breath.
Generally, people are most contagious when their symptoms are the worst. The virus is spread mainly
from person-to-person and between people who are in frequent and prolonged close contact with each
other. Spread occurs from respiratory droplets produced when someone sneezes or coughs. It may also
be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching
your mouth, nose or eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
It is recommended that sick Iowans stay home and isolate themselves from others in their house until:
• You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of
medicine that reduces fevers)
• other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have
• at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.
If you think you need to see your doctor call them first, they can decide whether you need to be seen in
the office or if you can recover at home.
Everyone can practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces like tables, door knobs and light
switches with household cleaners and disinfectants that are appropriate for the surface. Labels contain
instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning products. You should take precautions when
applying the products, such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of
There are some simple steps everyone can take to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Wash your hands
often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at
least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Avoid close contact with people who are sick and
avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Being uncertain and anxious about COVID-19 is normal, especially with the constant reporting. Please
make sure you are getting your information from a reputable source such as: Iowa Department of Public
Health (IDPH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Be aware of how plugged in you are and what
you are exposing yourself to. Be informed, be educated, take this seriously but please don’t panic.