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Iowa governor says virus case marks first ‘community spread’

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Posted at 10:18 AM, Mar 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-15 11:18:08-04

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) — A Dallas County resident who hadn’t traveled out of state has tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the first “community spread” of the virus in Iowa, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Saturday night.

Speaking at a news conference in the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, Reynolds said the 18th person who has tested positive for the COVID-19 was 61-80 years old. While others who tested positive had been infected after being in regions where the disease was more widespread, the latest case indicates the virus was becoming more common in Iowa.

Reynolds said people should avoid gatherings of more than 250 people. Despite actions by other governors to cancel school, Reynolds said she wouldn’t support such a move unless more people tested positive.

Many colleges have opted to shift to online classes and Des Moines Public Schools has extended spring break because of the disease.

For most people, the COVID-19 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. Most people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

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