COVID-19 outbreaks in Iowa nursing homes climb 22 percent in 24 hours

By: - September 25, 2020 2:03 pm

Newly disclosed data identifies the privately run nursing homes in Iowa that have had the most infections among residents and staff, the most outbreaks, and those that have spent much of the past year in outbreak status. (Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

With the White House Coronavirus Task Force continuing to call for a statewide face-mask mandate to protect Iowa’s vulnerable populations, the number of reported COVID-19 outbreaks in Iowa nursing homes has increased 22% in the past 24 hours.

According to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health, between Thursday morning and Friday morning the total number of outbreaks in Iowa nursing homes rose from 41 to 50. IDPH says there 1,023 staff and resident infections associated with those 50 outbreaks, an increase of almost 6% from the 968 infections the agency reported Thursday.

Statewide, 1,035 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Iowa on Thursday, and there were at least five new coronavirus-related deaths throughout the state. There has been an average of 875 cases per day, an increase of 26% from the average two weeks earlier, according to the New York Times’ COVID-19 tracker.

Nursing home residents and older Iowans continue to suffer from the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths. Nearly 50% of Iowa’s COVID-19 related deaths are among elderly adults 80 and older, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

To mitigate the spread of the virus, the White House Coronavirus Task Force has recommended a statewide mask mandate to prevent “unnecessary deaths,” according to the latest weekly report issued by the committee.

The task force also noted that for the week ending Sept. 13, 10% of Iowa nursing homes had at least one new positive COVID-19 case among their residents, while 26% reported at least one new infection among the staff.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has resisted calls for a statewide mask mandate, saying she trusts Iowans to act responsibly and wear masks when it’s appropriate.

The Iowa nursing home with the most infections associated with a current outbreak is the Good Samaritan home in Ottumwa, with 86 infections, one more than what was reported Thursday.

Currently, there are seven Polk County nursing homes with active outbreaks, and the number of staff and resident infections at those homes now totals 110.

The Polk County facilities, and the total number of staff and resident infections at each, are:

Calvin Community: 49

Iowa Jewish Senior Life Center: 15

On With Life: 6

Parkridge Specialty Care: 20

ManorCare of West Des Moines: 11

Mitchell Village Care Center: 4

Bishop Drumm Retirement Center: 5

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