State records still show eight Iowans have had a presumptive positive test for the novel coronavirus, but Governor Kim Reynolds has revealed more details about two cruises involving a few dozen Iowans — including the group of seven in Johnson County who have the virus and are self-isolating at home.
“Naturally many questions are being asked about individuals that have been affected by the virus,” Reynolds said during a late morning news conference at the state capitol. “While we will provide information that’s relevant to protecting the health of the public, we will not provide some of the details about the Iowans affected out of respect for their privacy.”
A total of 21 people from Johnson County went on a cruise to Egypt. Twenty-two other Iowans were aboard the cruise boat that’s been off the California coast after some passengers tested positive. Eighteen of those Iowans are coming home from California aboard a charter flight. None are showing symptoms of Covid-19.
“We are asking that they have an assessment done before they get on the charter plane to come back home. We’re asking that they do an assessment once they get here and I think the plan is to maybe have them to self-isolate for 14 days just to make sure we’re taking all precautions that we can,” Reynolds said. “But we’re still working through some of those details, but they will be finalized before they come back home.”
Officials are not revealing how the seven patients in Johnson County returned to Iowa or where they may have gone in the community before self-isolating at home.
“Based on the Iowa Department of Public Health’s investigation, we know that these individuals had limited interaction in their communities and they did not attend any large public events,” Reynolds said, “so the potential risk to others is considered low.”
Dr. Caitlin Pedati, the state medical director, amplified that message during today’s news conference.
“Right now there’s no public notice that the public needs to be aware of,” Pedati said.
In addition to the seven presumptive positive tests in Johnson County residents, Governor Reynolds says ten others on the Egyptian cruise have been tested for Covid-19, but those test results are still pending.
“The reality is Covid-19 is now here and we can expect the number of tests and the number of positive cases will increase in the days to come,” Reynolds said. “While this news is concerning, it’s not cause for alarm. I want to assure Iowans tht we are prepared and we are taking additional steps to effectively manage the situation.”
Reynolds said the state will get a batch of federal money sometime in April to help cover the costs of investigating Covid-19 cases and other expenses.
(This post was updated at 12:45 p.m. with additional information)