Iowa’s nursing home outbreaks during pandemic now top 500

By: - November 3, 2021 3:46 pm

There have been 504 outbreaks of COVID-19 in Iowa nursing homes since the beginning of the pandemic, newly disclosed state records show. (Photo by Clark Kauffman/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

There have been 504 outbreaks of COVID-19 in Iowa nursing homes since the beginning of the pandemic, newly disclosed state records show.

Those outbreaks have resulted in 16,447 infections among staff and residents, according to the data from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says 2,497 Iowa nursing home residents have died of the virus so far.

One of the biggest sources of infections has been at Cerro Gordo County’s Good Shepherd Health Center. Two separate outbreaks at the Mason City facility – one in the summer of 2020 and one that stretched through the fall of 2020 – infected a total of 248 people.

According to CMS, there have been 22 resident deaths at Good Shepherd, and the infection rate among residents there has topped 90%. The federal agency says the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths at the home per 1,000 residents is 133 – which means the number of deaths equals 13% of the home’s average census.

About 20% of the staff at the home has yet to be fully vaccinated.

The single biggest nursing home outbreak in Iowa occurred last year at the Good Samaritan Home in Ottumwa. Over the course of six months, 151 residents and workers were infected.

According to CMS, there have been 23 confirmed resident deaths due to COVID-19 at the Ottumwa home, and the infection rate among residents has topped 93%. The number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths at the home, per 1,000 residents, is 217 – which means the number of deaths equals 21% of the home’s average census.

Biggest care-facility outbreaks

Here’s a look at the Iowa facilities with outbreaks that topped 100 infections during the pandemic:

Wapello County – Good Samaritan Home of Ottumwa: 151 infections tied to an outbreak that lasted from July 2020 through December 2020.

Black Hawk County – Ravenwood Specialty Care: 136 infections tied to an outbreak that lasted from October 2020 through December 2020.

Harrison County – Longview Home: 132 infections tied an outbreak that lasted from September 2020 through December 2020.

Linn County – Heritage Specialty Care: 113 infections tied to an outbreak that lasted from March 2020 through May 2020.

Scott County – Good Samaritan Home of Davenport: 113 infections tied to an outbreak that lasted from November 2020 through February 2021.

Dubuque County – Luther Manor Communities: 107 infections tied an outbreak that lasted from October 2020 through December 2020.

Linn County – The Hiawatha Care Center: 103 infections tied an outbreak that lasted from August 2020 through December 2020.

Pottawattamie County – Risen Son Christian Village: 103 infections tied an outbreak that lasted from October 2020 through January 2021.

Polk County – Bishop Drumm Retirement Center: 101 infections tied an outbreak that lasted from April 2020 through June 2020.

Cerro Gordo County – Good Shepherd Health Center: There were 128 infections tied to an outbreak that lasted from October 2020 through January 2021; and 120 infections tied an outbreak that lasted from June 2020 through August 2020.

Ringgold County – Clearview Home of Mt. Ayr: 100 infections tied an outbreak that lasted from November 2020 through January 2021.

Most outbreaks in a facility

Because larger homes with higher resident populations and bigger staffs are far more likely to top 100 infections, it’s also instructive to look at the number of outbreaks – regardless of the number of people infected – that have occurred in each facility.

Most Iowa care facilities have not had more than two separate, distinct outbreaks, but some have had three, four, or even six, over the course of the pandemic.

The Iowa homes with the greatest number of outbreaks during the pandemic are:

Marshall County – The Iowa Veterans Home: Six outbreaks totaling 212 infections.

Polk County – Bishop Drumm Retirement Center: Four outbreaks totaling 125 infections.

Polk County – Calvin Community: Three outbreaks totaling 79 infections.

Polk County – Altoona Nursing and Rehabilitation Center: Three outbreaks totaling 72 infections.

Polk County – Fleur Heights Care Center: Three outbreaks totaling 81 infections.

Des Moines County – Azria Health Prairie Ridge: Three outbreaks totaling 25 infections.

Linn County – Cottage Grove Place: Three outbreaks totaling 21 infections.

Lee County – Donnellson Health Center: Three outbreaks totaling 28 infections.

Delaware County – Edgewood Convalescent Home: Three outbreaks totaling 27 infections.

Dubuque County – Grand Meadows: Three outbreaks totaling 14 infections.

Dallas County – Granger Nursing and Rehab Center: Three outbreaks totaling 68 infections.

Cerro Gordo County – The IOOF Home and Community Therapy Center: Three outbreaks totaling 19 infections.

Scott County – The Iowa Masonic Home: Three outbreaks totaling 48 infections.

Scott County – The Kahl Home for the Aged: Three outbreaks totaling 53 infections.

Winnebago County – Lake Mills Care Center: Three outbreaks totaling 36 infections.

Polk County – ManorCare of West Des Moines: Three outbreaks totaling 18 infections.

Webster County – Marian Home: Three outbreaks totaling 69 infections.

Polk County – Mill Pond: Three outbreaks totaling 35 infections.

Black Hawk County – Northcrest Specialty Care: Three outbreaks totaling 86 infections.

Polk County – Park Ridge Specialty Care: Three outbreaks totaling 80 infections.

Black Hawk County – Pinnacle Specialty Care: Three outbreaks totaling 86 infections.

Pottawattamie County – Risen Son Christian Village: Three outbreaks totaling 170 infections.

Hardin County – Scenic Manor: Three outbreaks totaling 20 infections.

Polk County – Sunny View Care Center: Three outbreaks totaling 82 infections.

Wapello County – Vista Woods Care Center: Three outbreaks totaling 53 infections.

Marion County – West Ridge Specialty Care: Three outbreaks totaling 92 infections.

Current, active outbreaks

There are 23 Iowa care facilities with current, active outbreaks, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health, and 226 infections associated with those outbreaks.

That’s a significant drop from last week’s count of 30 outbreaks with 370 infections.

The single biggest contributor to the decline is the Iowa Veterans Home, where an outbreak that began on Aug. 20, and which eventually infected 65 people, is now considered resolved.

During the past week, there have been reports of new, rapidly spreading outbreaks in a few Iowa care facilities. At the Lake Mills Care Center in Winnebago County, for example, a new outbreak that began on Oct. 25 has already led to 17 infections.

Here’s a look at the 23 facilities that IDPH says have current, active outbreaks:

Lee County – West Point Care Center: Three infections.

Cass County – Atlantic Specialty Care: Three infections.

Polk County – Azria Health Park Place: Four infections.

Polk County – Bishop Drumm Retirement Center: Four infections.

Cass County – Caring Acres Nursing & Rehabilitation Center: Six infections.

Butler County – Clarksville Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center: Four infections.

Howard County – Colonial Manor of Elma: 17 infections.

Adair County – Community Care Center: Seven infections. This is a new outbreak, first occurring on Oct. 26.

Delaware County: Edgewood Convalescent Home: Six infections.

Iowa County – English Valley Nursing Care Center: 42 infections, up from 37 infections reported one week ago.

Polk County – Genesis Senior Living Center: Three infections.

Winnebago County – Good Samaritan Home of Forest City: Three infections.

Dubuque County – Grand Meadows: Three infections.

Des Moines County – Great River Klein Center: 21 infections, up from 16 infections last week.

Hardin County – Heritage Care Center: 23 infections.

Linn County – Hiawatha Care Center: 11 infections.

Cerro Gordo County – IOOF Home and Community Therapy Center: Seven infections.

Winnebago County – Lake Mills Care Center: 17 infections. This is a new outbreak, first occurring on Oct. 25.

Johnson County – Lantern Park Specialty Care: Six infections, up from five one week ago.

Polk County – Mill Pond: Three infections. This is a new outbreak, first occurring on Oct. 26.

Mahaska County – Northern Mahaska Specialty Care: Three infections.

Osceola County – Sibley Specialty Care: 23 infections, up from seven infections last week.

Dubuque County – Stonehill Care Center: Eight infections. This is a new outbreak, first occurring on Oct. 24.

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Clark Kauffman
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.

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