Dallas County Health Department and the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) remind residents they play a vital role in stopping the spread of COVID-19. A critical part of containment is practicing social distancing.

“Social distancing is a term used to describe certain actions public health and individuals can take to stop or slow the spread of an infectious disease,” said Dallas County Health Department Director Suzanne Hegarty.

The government mandates some actions, like business or school closings; for example, Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency on March 16, which expires April 16.

Individuals can also practice social distancing in their everyday lives. These actions include:

Avoiding groups of people. Keeping a 6-foot distance between themselves and those around them; for instance, keeping this distance when in a line at the grocery store. A 6-foot distance is about the length of a twin-size bed. Stay home even if mildly ill. If you are ill at home, isolating yourself from others in your home who are well.

In addition, Dallas County reminds everyone to wash their hands frequently, and cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or their upper arm.

Hegarty says it’s also important to know that about 80 percent of Iowans infected with COVID-19 will experience only mild to moderate illness. Those individuals do not need testing to confirm they have the virus and they do not need to be seen by a health care provider. If they feel ill enough that they believe they need to see a health care provider, they should call before going into the clinic. The provider may have special instructions for their visit.
Ill residents should stay home and isolate from others in the house until:

You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers); AND, Other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved); AND, At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.

For information about Gov. Reynolds’ proclamation, visit https://bit.ly/2UmfL6J. For up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the IDPH webpage at https://bit.ly/2Wx7iAo and follow the department on Facebook at @IowaDepartmentOfPublicHealth and on Twitter at @IAPublicHealth.