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Eastern Iowa Airport working to stay ahead of COVID-19 outbreak

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The Eastern Iowa Airport increases cleaning on popular touch points

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) -- Officials with the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids announced they're are taking steps to stay ahead of and contain any spread of the Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19.

There are currently 13 presumed positive cases in the state, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. (For the most up to date number, click here) A presumptive positive means the test has not yet been verified with the CDC.

While it is unknown if any Iowans who tested positive for COVID-19 stepped foot in the airport, officials said they are taking precautions anyway.

The CID airport was bustling with activity Wednesday afternoon. As the travelers move through the terminal, the airport's maintenance and cleaning staff were quick to follow.

CID Director of Communication, Pam Hinman said the airport is following guidance from Iowa's Department of Public Health at both the state and county levels.

"When the Governor came out on Sunday and announced those first three cases in Johnson County. We did speak to Iowa Public Health, the state Public Health Department. They couldn't confirm that the passengers came through the terminal, but they did tell us that no additional precautions were needed," said Hinman.

Despite that guidance, Hinman said airport officials made the decision to increase cleaning, especially on popular touchpoints such as handrails and vending machines, anyways.

"We did decide to take the extra step of buying a couple of electrostatic sprayers commonly used by hospitals. So it'll be a few weeks before those are in, they're very popular right now," said Hinman.

The newly remodeled bathrooms past security are touchless and extra hand sanitizing stations have been placed around the terminal.

For travelers, the CDC still recommends frequent hand washing for 20 seconds and said on its website, "Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on airplanes."

The CDC is also asking travelers to check if their destination has a travel advisory before taking off. A list of destinations with travel advisories can be found here.

With spring break just around the corner, Hinman said they're looking to keep travelers at ease.

"I think we'll see a little bit lighter loads than we have in the past I think that's realistic to now, at this point, the airline's schedule for us has not been significantly impacted," said Hinman, "But we want people to know that we're taking the steps that we feel necessary to make them feel comfortable to fly out a CID."

CID already had three shifts of employees who provide around the clock cleaning. The airport also utilizes ServiceMaster Commercial Cleaning to bolster efforts.

Hinman said airport officials will continue to monitor the situation and follow recommendations from the state health department.

Flight cancelations are handled by the individual airline.

Various airlines, such as Delta have released information on steps they're taking to prevent the spread of the virus. That information can be found, here.

To read CDC guidelines on Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for travel, click here.

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids

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