COVID-19 Prevention Reminders

April 24, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Infections Increasing in Iowa; Peak Activity Forecast Still Weeks Out

We are grateful for all the Grinnellians across the country and around the world who are doing what they can to "flatten the curve" by heeding campus and community messages about prevention measures and physical distancing. With warmer weather and talk about easing restrictions, it may be tempting to think COVID-19 risks are lessening, but that is not true. Now is the time to renew and strengthen your protective measures, as the risk of COVID-19 transmission and infection remains high.

Community transmission and infection rates are peaking at different times across the country and Iowa cases are still on an upward trajectory. Current Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projections indicate the Iowa infection rate is expected to climb for at least two more weeks and may remain high into June.

The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) is currently reporting more than 4,400 confirmed cases in the state; however, many officials believe this figure severely undercounts the true number because of test unavailability, laboratory delays, and testing restrictions. In the past few days there have been several stories, not all yet confirmed, of outbreaks in Iowa meat processing plants, group homes, and senior care facilities. Official reporting often lags in such instances; many additional cases are likely to be reported soon in Poweshiek and nearby counties.

The Des Moines Register has published a Coronavirus in Iowa: maps and charts feature that provides several helpful visuals, including a "Coronavirus cases over time in Iowa" map showing the geographic spread of the virus. Currently, hospitals across Iowa are beginning to reach capacity and medical providers are falling ill. This further complicates and limits the ability of health professional to provide appropriate treatment to patients in need of care. This is our time to do our part: #stayhome.

No matter where you live, we ask that you continue protecting yourself and others by practicing physical distancing and other preventative measures.

Watch this Ohio Health Department video to better understand how and why distancing works. The prevention and physical distancing practices we have been following do work to slow transmission, and other states are slowly starting to flatten the curve.

Prevention Measures

  • Curtail direct contact with others outside your home.
  • Avoid gatherings, even those with a limited number of people.
  • Do not congregate in common areas.
  • Make every effort to maintain a distance of 6 feet (~2 meters) from others.
  • Use a mask or cloth face covering to slow the spread of the virus, especially by those who may have the virus and do not know it. NOTE: Employees and students who do not have access to a mask (or materials to make their own) can check into getting a mask via the COVID-19 "Ask a Question" form.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow/upper arm.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect shared surfaces and objects that are touched frequently (faucets, doorknobs, phones, etc.).
  • Avoid contact with sick people.

Check the Grinnell COVID-19 website prevention measures page for more information.

What To Do If You Are Sick

  • Operations-critical employees still working on campus have been advised to take their temperature in the morning before reporting to work and again in the evening. Anyone who has a temperature of 100.4F or higher should stay home.
  • Anyone who feels sick with fever, cough, or who has difficulty breathing - especially if you have been in primary contact with someone who may be infected - should seek medical care right away.
  • Any employee who is concerned they may be ill with COVID-19 should seek care from their family doctor, urgent care facility, or hospital.
  • If you are seeking care, call ahead to your doctor's office or emergency room and advise them of your symptoms.
  • Students on campus should contact SHAW at 641/269-3230 (after hours or on weekends, follow the prompts to connect with the Need a Nurse line).
  • Check the CDC's "Caring for Someone Sick at Home" online resource 

COVID-19 Resources

Check the Grinnell COVID-19 website COVID-19 international, national, state, and local resources page for more information.

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