Consistent with our values, the health and public safety of all Iowans is the number one priority of the Iowa Democratic Party. Our state and country are facing a period of uncertainty due to the spread of the coronavirus, and as such, the IDP is making the following determination over the coming days.
In advance of Iowa Democratic Party County Conventions on Saturday, March 21, we are continuing to monitor public health developments and explore alternative options, including a postponement of County Conventions. At this point, District Convention and State Convention planning will continue as scheduled.
Over the course of this week and continuing forward, I am in constant communication with public health officials, County Chairs, and members of the State Central Committee, who have expressed broad support for considering alternative options for the planned County Conventions.
In addition, the IDP is working closely with the DNC and legal experts to ensure that should a postponement be deemed necessary, alternative options abide by DNC Rules & Regulations and the spirit of the IDP Delegate Selection Plan to ensure Iowa Democrats retain our delegation at the July DNC Convention.
As of the sending of this memo, no final determination has been made. Tonight, I will be hosting a call with the State Central Committee at 6pm and a call with the County Chairs at 7pm for further discussion.
Commitment to Transparency
Our Party recognizes the many months of work put into successful County Conventions, and in honoring that effort, we will continue to update Iowa Democrats on future developments in a transparent and timely manner.
Additionally, we are working diligently to stay on top of updates from the Iowa Department of Public Health and CDC, and ensuring appropriate plans are put in place for each upcoming gathering. We will continue to monitor and provide updates as needed. For guidance on local meetings, we encourage you to check with your local health officials.
Our website www.iowademocrats.org will be continually updated during this time, in addition to our discussions by phone and email.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 for most Iowans is considered low.
At this time, the Iowa Department of Public Health is not recommending additional or special precautions for Iowans beyond the daily precautions to combat the flu including washing hands frequently, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when ill.
We are actively exploring all options regarding the upcoming county conventions on March 21st. County Conventions are required to convene for the purpose of electing delegates and alternates to the district and state conventions who will in turn elect Iowa’s National Convention Delegates. We are working with county chairs, local activists, and the DNC to provide recommendations and solutions that will ensure the delegate selection process is completed in the safest manner possible.
Good planning means good contingency planning. The Iowa Democratic Party is evaluating options for ensuring the business of the convention gets done, while prioritizing the safety of the participants. We are in communication with the DNC as they do the same.
The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and CDC current risk assessment:
- For most people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. This virus is not currently widespread in the United States, but new guidance encourages older adults to stay at home as much as possible.
- People in places where ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 has been reported are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location. You can monitor Iowa cases here.
- Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Close contacts of persons with COVID-19 are at elevated risk of exposure.
- Travelers returning from affected international locations where community spread is occurring are at elevated risk of exposure, with increase in risk dependent on the location.
- CDC has developed guidance to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposures to COVID-19.
What is coronavirus?
According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus that has not been found in people before. Patients with confirmed COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
- Shortness of breath
Based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of other coronaviruses, CDC believes that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
IDPH recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your mouth with your upper arm or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
CDC does not recommend face masks for the general public.
- There is some misinformation about coronavirus circulating. We recommend taking a moment to review the WHO’s myth-busters to set the record straight about what coronavirus is.
- Red Cross has a really useful fact sheet with important information on coronavirus
- Check out the CDC page on COVID-19 and the Iowa Department of Health’s page.
- The IDPH phone number for questions about COVID-19 is: 211