Iowa City DJ from Star Entertainment diagnosed with COVID-19

An Iowa City DJ from Star Entertainment has been diagnosed with novel coronavirus after displaying symptoms. He was isolated in the hospital and has been isolated in his home upon release.

Illustration by Katina Zentz

Kelsey Harrell, News Reporter

A karaoke DJ from Iowa City has been diagnosed with novel coronavirus after test results for the virus came back positive on March 15, and he’s warning people who went to his events since Feb. 28 that they may have been exposed to the virus.

Star Entertainment owner Don Morrison was diagnosed with the virus after he began having a severe headache and cough. When his symptoms worsened, he consulted with a nurse and physician at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, according to a public announcement on his company’s Facebook page.

The nurse and physician recommended Morrison go to the hospital where he was eventually isolated, due to the severity of his symptoms, the announcement said. He was in isolation at UIHC until Monday, and remains in isolation in his home. 

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According to the announcement, Star Entertainment has reached out to all businesses it worked with in the past two weeks to inform them of Morrison’s diagnosis. 

Morrison is unsure how he contracted COVID-19, the announcement said, because to his knowledge, no one he’d been in contact with was ill or had shown symptoms of the virus.

The announcement stated that anyone who attended one of the company’s events since Feb. 28 may have been exposed to the virus. The company hosted 12 public events from Feb. 28 to March 14, according to the group’s Facebook page, including at Shakespeare’s Pub and Grill in Iowa City, Hy-Vee on North Dodge Street, Blackstone Fine Dining in Iowa City, Herb N’ Lou’s Pizza in West Branch, Gene’s in Iowa City, and Longbranch Hotel in Cedar Rapids. The company also works private events.

In Cedar Rapids, Longbranch Restaurant and Bar, where Morrison worked March 6 and March 13 is being instructed by Linn County Public Health to direct its employees and patrons of the location to self-isolate for 14 days from those dates.

Johnson County Public Health Director Dave Koch said people that went to those venues and participated in karaoke were no more at risk than the general public as there is already evidence of community spread of the coronavirus in Iowa. He said the department was not issuing an advisory or warning to the public, but had contacted each individual business to tell them about Morrison.

“Remember the mode of transmission, the mode of transmission is droplets,” Koch said in a Tuesday press conference. “You have to be within six feet. I don’t know exactly the setup in each one of those venues where the DJ was. But again, the majority of those people likely never came within six feet of that individual.”

Editor’s note: The DI has updated this article to reflect that the company held an event at Hy-Vee on North Dodge Street, not in North Liberty. The DI regrets this error.

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