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Public Health

Posted on: February 6, 2020

2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Media Update

Linn County Public Health, UnityPoint Health - Cedar Rapids, Mercy Medical Center, Eastern Iowa Heal

The news of recent 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) cases in the United States has heightened awareness and concern regarding spread of the disease. Linn County Public Health, UnityPoint Health - Cedar Rapids, Mercy Medical Center and Eastern Iowa Health Center take this public health issue seriously and are prepared to address potential cases.

Patients presenting to a health care facility should be prepared to answer whether they have traveled to mainland China or had direct contact with an individual that is suspected or confirmed of having 2019-nCoV.

Individuals concerned that they may have 2019-nCoV should contact their health care provider prior to seeking care in a providers office, urgent care or emergency room. Individuals will be asked about travel history, if they have a fever, and/or respiratory symptoms such as cough or difficulty breathing. This information is vital to enable our health care workers to screen travel history and symptoms so that patients with possible 2019-nCoV can be immediately recognized.

Protocols have been developed by infection prevention specialists at both hospitals in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Iowa Department of Public Health and Linn County Public Health. This includes the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health care workers. These protocols continue to be revised as new information becomes available.

The risk associated with 2019-nCoV is related to travel to China and not to a specific ethnicity or group of people. The risk to the general public remains low at this time, and the use of facemasks is not recommended for the general public. Influenza is a much more significant risk at this time. It is not too late to get your flu vaccine and to practice the “3 C’s.”

  • Cover your cough and sneeze
  • Clean hands often
  • Contain yourself at home when ill

“Our organizations have a long history of working together to collaborate and share information regarding this and other potential public health threats. We have teams of experts in our hospitals and clinics monitoring our preparedness on a daily basis.” states Pramod Dwivedi, Linn County Public Health Director.

More information about the disease itself is available at:

Iowa Department of Public Health website: www.idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus

CDC website: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Travel notices and recommendations: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/

WHO website: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019


MEDIA CONTACTS: Heather Meador, Linn County Public Health, (319) 892-6061; Karen VanderSanden, Mercy Medical Center, (319) 398-6083; Sarah Corizzo, UnityPoint Health - Cedar Rapids; Erin Byers Langdon, Eastern Iowa Health Center (319) 432-8490.


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