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Comprehensive Systems takes precautions due to COVID-19

Comprehensive Systems takes precautions due to COVID-19
This map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows countries that have confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday evening.
By James Grob,

Due to the rising number of cases of COVID-19 in Iowa, Comprehensive Systems Inc. is taking some precautions.

In a press release on Tuesday, the group said it is asking visitors who are displaying respiratory symptoms such as a cough, or a fever, to postpone their visit until further notice. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing and shortness of breath.

“Comprehensive Systems Inc. is taking a proactive approach to protect our vulnerable population,” the group said in the release.

Comprehensive Systems is a community-based, private, non-profit Iowa corporation that provides support to more than 300 individuals with special needs. The group’s services include residential, vocational and day services in a five-county area.

The group has locations in Charles City, Osage, Mason City, New Hampton, Cedar Falls and Waterloo. The Charles City location is at 1700 Clark Street.

“Furthermore, we are placing on hold all unnecessary community outings from our residential and day programs,” the release said.

The release said that health care professionals visiting to care for individuals will continue as normal.

“We will continue following the Iowa Department of Public Health and Epidemiologist’s Office for guidance,” the group said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 13 Iowans had tested presumptively positive for COVID-19, 46 had tested negative and 27 test results were pending. In addition, 112 people were being monitored because of possible exposure to the novel coronavirus, but they were not showing any symptoms, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).

According to the IDPH, five new people who tested positive were on the same Egyptian cruise that seven people who earlier tested positive for the virus had been on. The other Iowan who has tested positive, a resident of Pottawattamie County, recently traveled to California

State officials said Tuesday that 22 Iowans are among thousands of passengers and crew who were quarantined on a cruise ship docked in Northern California, and most of them are preparing to return home.

At least 21 of the roughly 3,500 passengers and crew on board the Grand Princess have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, officials said.

Four of the Iowa residents won’t immediately return home, but the other 18 will be flown back on a government-chartered flight, Gov. Kim Reynolds said at a press conference Tuesday. None of them currently have symptoms of the disease, but they will be screened for it before they board the plane and again when they arrive.

They live in various communities in Iowa and will be quarantined at home, Reynolds said.

The virus has infected more than 700 people in the U.S. and killed at least 27, with one state after another recording its first infections in quick succession.

COVID-19 was first linked to an outbreak in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, but cases have subsequently been identified in more than 100 countries including the U.S., Canada and Mexico, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The first presumptive positive cases in Iowa were identified on March 8.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.

The vast majority of people recover from the virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild cases recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe cases may take three to six weeks to get better.

On Monday, Reynolds signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency, activating the disaster response and recovery aspects of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s Iowa Emergency Response Plan.

The proclamation authorizes state agencies to utilize resources including personnel, equipment and facilities to perform activities necessary to prevent, contain and mitigate the effects of the novel coronavirus.

In a statement last week, the Iowa Department of Public Health and Floyd County Public Health reminded spring break vacationers to take time to learn about and prepare for health concerns, whether traveling to a sunny beach, a ski resort or enjoying a staycation.

Currently the greater health risk to Floyd County residents is from influenza, said Gail Arjes, Floyd County director of public health. She added that it is appropriate to take precautions against the novel coronavirus.

“The prevention for COVID-19 is similar to how you protect yourself from a variety of viruses, like influenza. Cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands frequently, and stay home from work or vacation when ill,” she said.

“We continue to learn more about COVID-19 as the response progresses,” Arjes said. “Most often, person-to-person spread is thought to happen among people in close contact (about 6 feet) with each other. This spread is believed to occur when an infected person coughs or sneezes and droplets land on another person’s nose or mouth.

“Therefore, when at home or traveling, it is important to avoid being near people who are visibly ill,” she said.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report

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