In light of new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines concerning COVID-19 precautions, Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague has lifted the local mask order and civil emergency declaration, effective immediately. However, those who have been exposed to COVID-19 or have tested positive are still asked to adhere to CDC isolation and quarantine guidelines.
As of Tuesday, March 1, masks will no longer be required inside City facilities; however, masks will still be available for those who wish to wear one.
Based on new COVID-19 cases, hospital beds being used, and hospital admissions, the CDC lists Johnson County as "Medium" on it's COVID-19 Community Level ratings. At a "Medium" Community Level, community members are encouraged to get tested if they have symptoms and stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations. Those who are at high risk for severe illness are encouraged to talk with their health care provided about whether masks or other precautions are necessary.
"New cases of COVID-19 are decreasing and hospitalizations due to the illness continue to fall," said Teague. "I ask the entire Iowa City community to continue to do your part to prevent the spread of this disease. Make responsible choices. Isolate or quarantine when necessary. And wear a mask if you're a risk to others."
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, 71.7 percent of Johnson County's population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Members of the community are still encouraged to vaccinate themselves against COVID-19 and receive a booster shot if they have not done so already. Those who feel they should continue wearing masks are urged to keep doing so.
Residents should respect the policies of businesses, hospitals and medical facilities, and events that may require mask-wearing. The individual choices of residents to wear masks should also be respected, as many Iowa City residents wore masks in public before the City's mask order.
The CDC updated its isolation and quarantine recommendations in December 2021:
- Those with COVID-19 should isolate for five days if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving.
- A mask should be worn around others for an additional five days to minimize the risk of transmission.
- Those who are unvaccinated are recommended to quarantine for five days and wear a mask for an additional five days following an exposure to COVID-19.
- Those who have received their booster do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask.
Regardless of your vaccination status, the CDC recommends a COVID-19 test five days after an exposure. Test Iowa kits are available at City Hall.
The CDC recommends those who have not been vaccinated or persons with weakened immune systems should continue to wear masks.
The CDC and Federal government still require that masks be worn on public transportation, including Iowa City-area buses. Those using City buses should continue to wear masks and maintain social distance when on the bus.
The City will continue to monitor local and national developments pertaining to COVID-19, and will rely on guidance from State and County public health officials and the CDC regarding face masks, social distancing, and other safety measures.
For more City COVID-19 information, please visit icgov.org/Coronavirus. If you have yet to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination, please call 211 for information on when and where a vaccination is available.