Iowa nursing homes continue to see double-digit, daily growth in infections

Doctor takes a swab sample. (Photo by Mladen Sladojevic/Getty Images)

Another 232 Iowans were reported as infected with coronavirus on Tuesday, with the number of infections in nursing homes continuing their double-digit growth from day to day.

Three more Iowans Iowans died Tuesday of the virus caused by COVID-19, according to a New York Times database. Over the past week, there have been an average of 458 new cases per day in Iowa, a decrease of 15% from the average two weeks ago, the Times’ data shows.

To date, there have been at least 43,196 cases and 845 deaths in Iowa since the beginning of the pandemic.

While the number of active outbreaks in Iowa nursing homes continued to hold steady on Wednesday at 21, the same level as reported the previous two days, the number of infections in those 21 facilities continued to climb — from 645 on Monday, to 671 on Tuesday and to 701 on Wednesday.

Between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon, five Iowa nursing home residents died of the virus, according to Iowa Department of Public Health data. That brings Iowa’s total number of nursing home residents who have died from COVID-19 to 461.

The five additional nursing home deaths is greater than the total statewide number of COVID-19 deaths reported by IDPH for that same time period — which could be attributable to delays in either confirming or reporting one of the two sets of data.

It could also stem from the way the IDPH defines or calculates COVID-19 deaths. The department’s daily death and infection counts are consistently lower than those reported for Iowa by the New York Times and the COVID Tracking Project. The department has not responded to several questions the Iowa Capital Dispatch has raised about its reporting of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

The number of Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19 dipped slightly on Wednesday according to IDPH, dropping to 246 from 253 the previous day. The number of infected Iowans admitted to a hospital during the previous 24 hours dropped from 30 on each of the previous two days to 23 on Wednesday.

 

Clark Kauffman
Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.