COVID-19 Resources

Last updated January 12, 2021.

The Iowa City Public Library is collecting information about resources being offered during the coronavirus public health emergency. This guide contains information about the following: coronavirus and its associated COVID-19 disease; changes to library services; changes to governmental services, financial resources for businesses and nonprofits; relief for individuals; food assistance, groceries, and delivery services.

We are happy to answer additional questions. Contact us through our Ask Us page.


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Multilingual Hotline

Interpreters in high-demand languages are available 8:30 am-5:00 pm with a 24-hour voicemail at 1-877-558-2609. This hotline was made possible to help expand language access to Iowans with limited English ability.

This endeavor is a partnership among the Refugee Alliance of Central Iowa (RACI), Lutheran Services in Iowa Refugee and Immigrant Services, 2-1-1, Polk County Health Department, and the Iowa Department of Public Health with funding from the Disaster Recovery Fund.

Where can I find trustworthy information on COVID-19?

The CDC website and the WHO website.

What are the latest updates?

The State of Iowa has its own informational website on COVID-19 in Iowa.

The City of Iowa City is maintaining COVID-19 information on its own website, as well as a list of City building closures. KCRG has published a list of cancellations, closures, and altered schedules. For questions regarding local response, contact Sam Jarvis, Community Health Manager for Johnson County Public Health, at 319-688-5884 or email

The University of Iowa will publish updates on their Campus Coronavirus Updates website.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a dedicated Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic web page, which offers rolling updates about coronavirus on their Events as they happen section. Note that this is the World Health Organization, emphasis on “world,” and that information on this page might not describe what is happening in Iowa.

Do I have COVID-19?

Think you have symptoms? Call 2-1-1. It’s like 911 but for general health and mental health questions. United Way partners with other organizations to provide this help to people in Iowa and Nebraska. Their website is

Many people wonder if the symptoms they are feeling might just be from allergies or the common cold. Atrium Health has a symptom checker chart that describes the symptoms of each ailment. 

If you are curious about how clinicians need to approach patients with confirmed COVID-19, the CDC shares Interim Clinical Guidance for Management of Patients with Confirmed Coronavirus. Scroll down to the “Clinical Management and Treatment” section. That section describes what might happen if a patient has a confirmed case.

The University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics has gathered information on its website about how the hospital is treating potential COVID-19 cases, and what to do if you are experiencing symptoms. 

If you are experiencing symptoms and would like to speak to someone, the phone line to call is 319-384-9010. Current UIHC patients can also schedule a telemedicine appointment through MyChart. If you just want general information about the virus, call 319-384-8819.

Per the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website, veterans with symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath should immediately contact their local VA facility. VA urges Veterans to contact VA before visiting – you can find contact information for your closest VA facility. Alternatively, Veterans can sign into My HealtheVet to send secure messages to their VA providers or use telehealth options to explain their condition and receive a prompt diagnosis.

Iowa Medicaid users also have extra assistance. Effective March 13, 2020, DHS is waiving all co-pays, premiums, and contributions for Iowa Health and Wellness Plan (IHAWP), Medicaid for Employed People with Disabilities (MEPD), Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa (Hawki), and Dental Wellness Plan (DWP) members until the emergency declaration is lifted. For more information, visit the Iowa DHS website

The Iowa Department of Public Health has issued Instructions for Self-Isolation for Iowans Returning from Countries Affected by COVID-19.

Even if you haven't personally been infected by coronavirus, health officials advise protecting yourself and your family against infection. The CDC's Get Your Household Ready for Coronavirus Disease 2019 provides interim guidance on how to create a household plan of action. 

General Information

The WHO provides a great Q&A on coronavirus that addresses the most common concerns. Travelers might want to consult the CDC’s Travelers FAQ and scroll down for the section on “Search COVID-19 risk assessment by country.” 

For people (and librarians!) who really want to dive deep into the information sea, visit the Disaster Information Management Research Center’s Disaster Lit (trademark) database. The National Library of Medicine manages this research center. They have their own webpage for information on Coronavirus Disease 2019. The even-more-curious can explore the GenBank sequence data page, hosted by the National Center for Biotechnical Information (NCBI), which tracks some samples of virus sequences.

Coronavirus Fact or Fiction?

The WHO provides advice for the public, including several Myth Busters like “taking a hot bath does not prevent the new coronavirus disease.” The WHO also has launched a chatbot through the Viber app for people to get factual information about the coronavirus. 

NewsGuard’s Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center has published a list of websites that are spreading Fake News about the virus. If you find yourself reading news that is too unbelievable to be true, look at the website’s URL and check it against NewsGuard’s list.

Businesses & Nonprofits

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Support for Businesses

U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) Loans

From their website: “The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).” For more information and to apply online, visit the SBA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Assistance page. 

The CARES Act has expanded the SBA’s loan program options, in addition to an option for debt relief. Visit the Coronavirus Relief Options page. 

Funding for Nonprofits

Foundation Directory Online

Even though we are not open, ICPL librarians working from home have access to the Foundation Directory Online. Nonprofits searching for grants can email us from the Ask Us page and we can search through that directory on their behalf.

Community Foundation of Johnson County

From its website: The Community Foundation of Johnson County Emergency Response Fund will provide flexible resources to nonprofit organizations in Johnson County working with communities who are disproportionately impacted by coronavirus and the economic consequences of this outbreak. Find the online application for this grant on the CFJC website


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Temp Jobs

The Iowa Workforce Development is collecting a list of businesses and agencies that have temporary job opportunities. This list is updated daily. 

Unemployment Assistance

Iowa Workforce Development

Governor Reynolds announced assistance for Iowans who are facing Coronavirus-related work losses, whether they are out of work or are caring for a sick loved one. Information can be found on the Iowa Workforce Development website. They have also developed a brief rundown of eligibility as well as a more thorough FAQ for common questions.

Here is the key information that was announced on Tuesday, March 17:

Unemployment Insurance claims

The following information comes from the from the IWD website. If you are laid off due to COVID-19 or have to stay home to self-isolate, care for family members or due to illness related to COVID-19, you can receive unemployment benefits, provided you meet all other eligibility requirements. Work search requirements will be waived. Those requirements essentially include working for wages from an employer who claims you as an employee in six of the last eighteen months and have earned at least $2,500 in the same time period. More specific explanation of benefit eligibility can be found on the website for the 2019 Unemployment Insurance Claimant Handbook

  • Claimants can expect to receive payment within 7-10 days after the date the claim is filed.
  • Claims that are filed and identified as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19, will not be charged to employers. Fact-finding interviews for these claims will be waived and not be held although employers will be notified of claims received.
  • IWD will process unemployment insurance payments to ensure payment will continue to be paid in a timely manner.

Iowa Workforce Development is hosting webinars to address the State’s relief efforts. There are two webinars, one for information for employers and one for unemployment insurance claims. Those webinars will be posted online on the IWD COVID-19 Information Page.

If you need to file unemployment but don't have a computer

As of Friday, April 10th, the IowaWORKS office at Eastdale Plaza in Iowa City will only be open to customers with an appointment, or to accept identity verification from customers applying for benefits. They encourage you to call or email to receive assistance in the safety of your own home via or 866-239-0843. NOTE: Once you make a selection, you will hear a phone ringing for 3-5 minutes. After the ringing has stopped, the phone will most likely go silent until your call is answered.  The ringing and silence are a part of the phone system and they are unable to change these features. Please stay on the line and we will answer your call as quickly as possible. The office is open on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except for Wednesdays when it opens at 9 a.m. Those who are not U.S. citizens will need their alien identification number and the date when it expires. 

If you need to apply over the phone, you will need your social security card and your state identification (e.g, drivers license number). If you want to have checks deposited to a checking account, you will need your bank's routing number and your account number.

Opportunities to Learn More Skills

Library Resources

Brainfuse JobNow has a number of options for help improving your resume writing and interviewing skills. Brainfuse also has a Skill Surfer section where people can go to learn new skills and work towards certifications. Or try the Brainfuse Adult Learning Center for more skill building options.

The Library also provides access to Learning Express, where you can find online lessons for adult core skills as well as career preperation resources. 

You will need an ICPL card number and password to access these resources remotely. 

Emergency Cash and Grant Opportunities

CommUnity Basic Needs Assistance

The CommUnity crisis center is continuing to offer financial assistance to help with housing and utility costs. They can provide assistance for bills up to $100 and up to a couple of times per year. Call 319-351-0128 Monday between 9 and 11 a.m. Eye exams, and glasses and clothing vouchers are not currently available.

United Way Community Disaster Assistance

The United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties provides disaster assistance to help people financially affected by the pandemic. This disaster fund assists with rent, household supplies, and medicine. The United Way pays the landlord, store, or pharmacy directly. Per their website, the disaster fund accepts requests from the following:

  • Seniors and home-bound individuals 
  • Families and individuals facing loss of income due to business and school closures 
  • Individuals without health insurance, sick days or family medical leave
  • People experiencing homelessness and who do not have the resources they need to stay safe
  • College students already facing barriers as they complete their education

To request assistance, call Patti Fields at 319-259-9218.

The United Way of Johnson & Washington Counties is providing updates on their COVID-19 Local Support Information page.

Family Investment Program

The Family Investment Program (FIP) is Iowa's Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. FIP provides cash assistance to needy families as they become self-supporting so that children may be cared for in their own homes or in the homes of relatives. For information, including how to apply, call the Johnson County DHS office  at 319-356-6050.

Iowa Individual Disaster Assistance Grant Program

IIAGP offers grants to families whose household’s annual income is at 200% or less of the federal poverty level. Each qualifying household MAY receive up to $5,000.00. The IIAGP is activated when the Governor issues a disaster proclamation turning on IIAGP for the affected counties.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program designed to assist low income families meet the cost of home heating by providing a one-time payment to the heating utility. Iowa LIHEAP program applications must be submitted by June 30, 2020. Apply at the Johnson County Hawkeye Area Community Action Program. Call 319-393-7811 Ext. 1001. More information can be found on the HACAP website

The grant application may be downloaded by clicking on Iowa Disaster Assistance Application. Or call 319-393-7811 ext 1001 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Grants for Specific Professions

It’s also worth looking for disaster assistance or relief grants related to specific professions. For example, stylists and others working in the beauty profession can apply for a basic needs grant through the Professional Beauty Association. Bartenders may also apply for assistance through the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program from the USBG National Charity Foundation (U.S. Bartenders Guild). Freelancers can also apply for a relief grant through the Freelancer Relief Fund. The City of Iowa City Coronavirus Resources collection has a list of economic relief options for Restaurant, Food Industry, and Takeout Workers Assistance.

The Iowa Arts & Culture Emergency Relief Fund invites individual artists to apply for $1,000 grants. Arts nonprofit organizations can apply for grants of $2,500. The online applications for both categories can be found on the Iowa Arts Council’s application portal. Applications for Round One of funding opportunities is April 17.

Student Emergency Assistance

Student Support Services has a Student Emergency Fund that can assist and support University of Iowa students who encounter an unforeseen financial emergency or catastrophic event which would otherwise prevent them from continuing their education at the University of Iowa.

Mortgage Relief


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)  are working together to help homeowners and renters during the coronavirus pandemic. The CFPB website can help you learn about mortgate relief options supported by this law, as well as what protections renters have. 

The following information comes from Iowa State Representative Mary Mascher’s Statehouse News email newsletter. A free hotline has been set up by Iowa Legal Aid to provide Iowans some support that may be facing legal issues during the COVID-19 outbreak, including eviction, denial of unemployment benefits, employment issues, identity theft and more. The COVID-19 Legal Information Hotline at 1-800-332-0419. Callers should leave a message, and Iowa Legal Aid staff will call them back to screen them for eligibility. Those who are eligible for Iowa Legal Aid’s free legal services will be connected with an attorney; those who are not eligible for free services will be referred to volunteer lawyers with the Iowa State Bar Association. For more information go to the Iowa Legal Aid website. 

Food & Groceries

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Free Meals & Food Pantries

Map created by Russell Martin.


CommUnity Food Bank

The CommUnity Food Bank (1121 Gilbert Ct., Iowa City) is offering prepared bags of groceries once per week at the following times:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12-4:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday 12-7 p.m.
  • Thursday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

CommUnity also opened a second food bank location in November 2020.  The CommUnity Food Pantry at Pepperwood (1045 Highway 6 East, Iowa City) offers “client choice,” where clients can walk the aisles for food and select only what they'd like, as they would at a grocery store. It has the same hours as above.

Food delivery is now available to Johnson County residents.  Call 319-519-6165 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to request delivery. This service is a partnership between CommUnity Food Bank, Coralville Community Food Pantry, IC Compassion, and North Liberty Community Pantry. Johnson County SEATS is providing delivery service to rural addresses.

The CommUnity Mobile Food Pantry stops once per month at 10 different locations in Johnson County. Their website says, “The Mobile Food Pantry provides monthly grocery assistance to residents of underserved and/or rural residential areas in Johnson County. The Mobile Pantry offers a variety of perishable and non-perishable food items, as well as baby and household items.” First-time visitors will be asked some questions before using the pantry.

Coralville Community Food Pantry 

The Coralville Community Food Pantry (1002 5th St.) is offering prepared bags of groceries once per week at the following times:

  • Tuesday 2-6 p.m.
  • Wednesday 5-7 p.m.
  • Thursday 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Saturday 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

HACAP Mobile Pantry

From 4-5 p.m. on the second Monday of each month, HACAP provides bagged groceries to residents of Cross Park Place.

IC Compassion Food Pantry

IC Compassion (1035 Wade St.) is offering prepared bags of groceries at the following times:

  • Wednesday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Thursday 12-6:30 p.m.

Iowa City Free Lunch Program

The Iowa City Free Lunch Program continues to provide free meals from 12-1 p.m., Monday through Saturday, at 1105 S. Gilbert Ct. The service is offering food in to-go containers only. No dine-in option at this time.

North Liberty Community Pantry

The North Liberty Community Pantry (89 Jones Blvd) is offering prepared bags of groceries once per week at the following times:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Saturday 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Thursday 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 3-6 p.m.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, 1116 Gilbert Ct., is offering to-go meals at 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday. They offer pre-packed groceries Monday through Friday from 1-2 p.m.

Safety & Mental Health

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Mental Health Aid & Disaster Distress

COVID Recovery Iowa

COVID Recovery Iowa is offering free counseling and support for Iowans. Counselors are available 24/7. Call 1-844-775-WARM or fill out the form on the website

CommUnity Crisis Services

If you’re experiencing an emotional crisis, call or text 1-855-325-4296 or chat them at The Disaster Distress text line is 1-800-985-5990. CommUnity Crisis Services are 24/7. For more information on this service, visit their website. Online chat is available at

Abbe Mental Health

Per its website, Abbe Center is offering a free Mental Health Coaching session to individuals that need tips on caring for their mental health during this public health emergency. For more information, call 319-398-3562.

National Crisis Text Line: text “HOME” to 741741.

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text "TalkWithUs" to 66746.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255. This program offers 24/7 online chat.

Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse Help

Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP)

Free and confidential 24-hr emergency hotline. Call 800-373-1043. DVIP also offers emergency shelter in Iowa City.

Iowa Victim Service Call Center: Call 1-800-770-1650 or text "IOWAHELP" to 20121.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233 or text “LOVEIS” to 22522.

Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP)

People looking for immediate support can still call RVAP's 24-hour support line at 319-335-6000 or 800-228-1625 to speak with an advocate.

National Sexual Assault Hotline: Call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). Live chat available at RAINN's local advocate center is RVAP. en español. Also accepts calls from people younger than 18.

Alcohol & Substance Abuse

SAMHSA’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a services locator to find a local treatment provider for paid services. 

Prelude Behavioral Resources: Call 319-351-4357 (351-HELP).Hours: Monday through Thursday 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.Outpatient services conducted via Telehealth on Zoom. Financial assistance available.