Iowa COVID-19 Cases Rise to 124, but No Need to "Shelter in Place" Yet

Mar 24, 2020

Deputy Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health Sara Reisetter at Tuesday's press conference

Today, the state of Iowa increased the number of COVID-19 cases to 124, that’s 19 more than yesterday.  There were no new confirmed cases in Siouxland.

Sarah Reisetter from the Iowa Department of Public Health says currently “sheltering in place” in Iowa isn’t necessary for the time being.

“Shelter in place for two or three weeks will not cause the coronavirus to go away.  That is because the virus is circulating around the world and can be reintroduced from many different places.”

Reisetter says people should stay home as much as possible, especially if you are over the age of 60; use social distancing, work from home if possible, stay away from large gatherings and use good personal hygiene.

During a news conference this afternoon, Governor Reynolds says she didn’t want to speculate how long she will recommend schools and certain business stay closed.  She did say the DOT reports travel on Iowa roads fell by 50% so she’s encouraged people are heeding the warning to stay home.

Asked how many people could be tested for the virus right now, Reynolds said the State Hygiegenic Lab has the capacity to test 1, 542 Iowans through the state hygienic lab. 

Sarah Riesetter said the lab orders tests based on public health needs. 

"Those are for tests of public health significance.  That has expanded over time, so we might see those criteria expand further."

The state lab will perform coronavirus testing only when certain criteria are met, under guidelines that remained in place this week. Those criteria mostly apply to hospitalized patients with a fever or respiratory failure and people who have traveled to countries with travel health warnings.