People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19 Encouraged to Take Action

For immediate release:

March 13, 2020

LINN COUNTY, IA – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released new guidance encouraging people at risk for serious illness from COVID-19 to take additional actions to reduce their risk of infection. Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. While there is no evidence of COVID-19 spreading in the community, it is important for populations at higher risk of severe illness to avoid crowds as much as possible. These recommendations are the same as during other times when disease is spreading in the community, such as during influenza season.

  • Recommendations for these at-risk populations are:
  • Have extra supplies on hand, such as medications, medical supplies, household items, and groceries to be able to stay at home for a period of time.
  • Take everyday preventive actions to avoid becoming sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people that are ill.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, using hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places, and wash hands after touching surfaces in public places.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Practice routine cleaning and disinfecting in your home of frequently touched surfaces.
  • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Avoid non-essential travel including plane trips and cruise ships.
  • Have a plan for if you get sick. Determine who can provide you with care if you become ill. Stay in touch with others. You may need help from others if you become ill.
  • Watch for symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you think you are becoming sick, call your healthcare provider. In an emergency, get medical attention immediately.

Public health and medical professionals are providing updated information as it is available. Due to the rapidly changing nature of this event, recommendations for the community will likely change often. For the most up-to date information, visit:

·The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

·Iowa Department of Public Health website:

MEDIA CONTACTS: Linn County Public Health, (319) 892-6000; 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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