City of Cedar Rapids Prepares for Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Updated: March 13, 2020City of Cedar Rapids Prepares for Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The novel (new) coronavirus, also known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (abbreviated COVID-19), is a respiratory disease that was first detected in China and now has been detected in 89 countries, including in the United States. Currently, according to Linn County Public Health and the Iowa Department of Public Health, residents of Iowa are at low risk of exposure. At the same time, public health experts recommended that residents 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.
The City of Cedar Rapids has already initiated both an emergency preparedness plan and a continuity of operations plan, as the safety of our community is our top priority. The City has prepared an emergency operations plan for implementation if there is an increased demand for calls for service because of the coronavirus. Just as importantly, the City has prepared a continuity of operations plan to ensure adequate City staff is available to deliver essential services.
The City has also proactively educated employees about best practices for reducing the spread of illness in the workplace. City employees have received information and resources that emphasize respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene, and the importance of staying home if the employee is ill.
In addition to the emergency operations plan and continuity of operations plan, the City’s Joint Communications Center (911 center) has enacted a call screening process that follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations so that dispatchers can communicate concerns of signs and symptoms and risk factors for coronavirus immediately with first responders prior to their arrival at the scene. Personal protective equipment has been provided to City employees most likely to encounter a patient with coronavirus.
Factual information is important whenever there is a public health concern. The City of Cedar Rapids has partnered with local, state, and federal partners to keep citizens and City employees informed with facts and prevention measures. City staff is in continual contact with Linn County Public Health to stay informed about the latest recommendations and updates from public health experts. The City is committed to our partnerships and we are working collectively to share information that we receive from public health agencies. The City has also created a list of some Frequently Asked Questions that are City of Cedar Rapids specific, such as clarifying that our drinking water remains safe as COVID-19 is not transmitted through the municipal water system.