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(VINTON, IA: 3/20/20, 11 am) Benton County Public 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 action public health and individuals can take to stop or slow the spread of an infectious disease,” said Benton County Public Health Director Katie Cox. The government mandates some actions, like business or school closings; for example, Governor Reynolds issued a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency on March 16, 2020, which expires April 16, 2020. 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, Benton County reminds everyone to wash their hands frequently, and cover their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or their upper arm.

Cox says it’s also important to know that about 80% 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 office. The provider may have special instructions for their visit.

For information about Governor Reynolds’ proclamation, visit https://idph.iowa.gov/News/ArtMID/646/ArticleID/158309/Gov-Reynolds-issues-a-State-of-Public-Health-Disaster-Emergency-31720. For up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the IDPH webpage at https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus and follow the department on Facebook at @IowaDepartmentOfPublicHealth and on Twitter at @IAPublicHealth.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 Need to Know web page.