Although there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Story County, at least two patients at Mary Greeley Medical Center have been tested and their results came back negative for the strain of coronavirus, hospital officials said Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, the Iowa Board of Regents asked Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and University of Northern Iowa to “move as quickly as possible towards the ability to deliver instruction virtually.”

The Board of Regents gave the university's until 8 a.m. Thursday to provide specific information.

“Iowa State has been planning and preparing for this contingency with our emergency management leaders and working groups. We're finalizing a few details,” Angie Hunt, interim director of the ISU News Service, said in an email to the Ames Tribune.

The Regents institutions would join several other universities and colleges across the country, such as Harvard University and Stanford University, which have canceled in-class lectures and moved towards remote classes due to the possible threat of a virus. Grinnell College also made the move towards virtual classes.

In Iowa, 86 total patients have been tested for the virus, but it has been confirmed in only 13 cases, according to statistics from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Results for the COVID-19 test typically are known within 24 hours, and during that time patients are generally recommended to voluntarily quarantine themselves from the general public, said Steve Sullivan, a spokesman at Mary Greeley Medical Center.

In the two cases at Mary Greeley, due to limited information available, Sullivan was not aware of what the patients were required to do or what their possible exposure to the virus may have been.

“Generally, the patients would be recommended to be put on house quarantine until their results come in, but again, I do not know the circumstances with these two patients,” Sullivan said.

Officials at McFarland Clinic in Ames said they also have tested patients for the coronavirus, but did not have an exact number as of late Tuesday afternoon. All tests came back negative, officials said.

Attempts to reach officials from Story County Medical Center in Nevada and Boone County Hospital were unsuccessful on Tuesday.

Mary Greeley and McFarland issue screening questions to patients, including their travel history and symptoms, to see if they meet a certain criteria to possibly be tested for the COVID-19 virus. If that criteria is met, a patient is immediately transported into an isolation room. Samples are collected at Mary Greeley and then sent to the State Hygienic Lab, Sullivan said.

On March 4, Iowa State University canceled sponsored trips to Europe, Asia and Africa due to the rising number of cases of COVID-19.

In the United States, 472 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed by the World Health Organization as of Tuesday afternoon.