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COVID-19 Response: A look inside the State Emergency Operation Center

Five additional people tested positive for COVID-19 Monday, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases up to eight in the state.

DES MOINES, Iowa — After three Iowans tested positive for COVID-19 Sunday, Gov. Kim Reynolds fully activated Iowa's State Emergency Operation Center (SEOC).

Monday morning, all agency directors were asked to report to SEOC, a place where state agencies and private sector partners come together to coordinate state response efforts to emergency situations. 

"I believe that we're some of the best in the country at what we do, so they should rest assured that we got this," said Joyce Flinn, director of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Monday, five additional people tested positive for COVID-19 in Iowa, bringing the total cases to eight. 

Seven cases were in Johnson County. One was in Pottawattamie County.

Flinn said this is the first time SEOC has been fully activated for a virus outbreak.

SEOC is located at the Iowa National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters. 

"The agencies who are represented are talking to their leadership," Flinn said. "They're also periodically throughout the day doing SEOC briefings, which is where they go around the room and each person talks about what they've been doing. We're making sure that everyone has information throughout the day on the latest with the situation."

One priority addressed at SEOC Monday was making sure those most susceptible to COVID-19 are protected. 

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"Because of the Washington outbreak, which was in a care facility, we want to make sure we're looking at all [of Iowa's] care facilities and those types of entities," Flinn said. "We're making sure there are strong plans in place for how we would address any issues that might arise at a facility."

Flinn said SEOC will be fully activated for the foreseeable future.

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"It'll be everyone here on a daily basis to share information and we'll go through the first week, see how it goes," Flinn said. "As the situation escalates or de-escalates, we'll adjust our tempo for addressing the need."