Here you will find basic information about coronavirus (COVID-19), including: 

COVID-19 Basics 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease which has spread to the United States.

It is mild for most people, but can cause severe illness and result in death for some. Older adults and people with chronic medical conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes, have the greatest risk of becoming severely ill.

How It Spreads

COVID-19 spreads from person to person, mainly through coughs and sneezes of infected people or between people who are in close contact. The virus can also spread through contact with surfaces when a person touches a surface (that has the virus on it) and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. 


If you suspect you are infected with COVID-19, call ahead before visiting a medical facility. Do not go to an emergency room with mild symptoms.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • Fever, Cough, Shortness of breath, Chills, Shaking, Muscle pain, Headache, Sore throat, Loss of smell or taste
If You Have Symptoms 
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more information about what to do if you are sick with COVID-19.
  • Call your doctor if you have:
    • Been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, or
    • Recently traveled from an area with ongoing community spread

Make a Plan

It is important for Iowa City residents to prepare for the potential of COVID-19 in the same way they prepare for severe weather or other events that could disrupt their normal routine.

Make a plan and discuss it with your family. What would you do if you could not go to work or school because of illness? What if your daycare provider was ill? How would you get groceries if you were ill? These are all questions to consider.

It is normal to be concerned and anxious about a new virus.

Precautionary Measures

  • Frequent hand washing for at least 20 seconds, using soap and water or hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes using a tissue or your elbow 
  • Maintain a distance of 6-feet between you and others; wear a face covering where social distancing is not possible
  • If you are sick, please avoid contact with others until all symptoms have cleared for a minimum of 24 hours

Prevention of COVID-19 is the same as that for other respiratory illnesses (like flu). These actions don't just protect you. They help keep our whole community safe, especially our most vulnerable residents, by slowing the spread of the disease.

The CDC has provided recommendation to stop the spread of germs.

Social Distancing

School dismissals, event cancellations, and creating employee plans to work remotely can help slow the spread of COVID-19.

As individuals, we can help slow the virus spread by maintaining a distance of 6-feet between one another. 

The CDC has recommendations on community mitigation, and slowing the transmission.