Nursing home outbreaks down sharply in Iowa

By: - December 10, 2021 3:43 pm

(Photo by RUNSTUDIO/Getty Images)

The number of active COVID-19 outbreaks in Iowa nursing homes has declined dramatically in the past two weeks, from 27 to 17.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, there were 27 outbreaks in Iowa nursing homes on Nov. 23, and 19 outbreaks on Dec. 1. As of this week, there are 17 outbreaks in Iowa care facilities.

The state agency defines a nursing home outbreak as a facility with three or more active infections among the staffers and/or residents.

In late November, there were a total of 259 infections associated with the 27 outbreaks that were active at that time. Currently, there are 165 infections associated with the 17 active nursing home outbreaks.

Missing from the new list is a home that saw a major spike in new infections just two weeks ago: Clayton County’s Guttenburg Care Center, where the number of infections increased from three in mid-November to 12 on November 23.

Still on the list is Pottawattamie County’s Avoca Specialty Care Center, where infections increased from 20 in late November to 28 in this week’s tabulation.

One week ago, Iowa’s biggest active nursing home outbreak was at the English Valley Nursing Care Center in Iowa County, where there had been a total of 44 infections associated with that particular outbreak. The facility is outbreak-free now, according to the IDPH.

One potential reason for the sudden disappearance of major outbreaks from the weekly list: IDPH publicly reports the cumulative total number of infections associated with each outbreak, rather than the number of active infections. As a result, the reported number of infections associated with all nursing home outbreaks can only grow, and never decline, until the number of active infections drops below three, at which point the facility is no longer in outbreak status and disappears entirely from the weekly counts.

Currently, the biggest outbreak in Iowa is at Clinton County’s Wheatland Manor, where there have been 36 infections – the same number as last week. On November 23, there were 10 infections associated with the current outbreak.

Here’s a look at all 17 of the Iowa care facilities with active outbreaks:

Black Hawk County — Newaldaya Lifescapes: Six infections

Black Hawk County – Pillar of Cedar Valley: Six infections

Buchanan County – ABCM Rehabilitation Centers of Independence-East Campus: Four infections.

Cerro Gordo County — Rockwell Community Nursing Home: Nine infections.

Clinton County — Wheatland Manor: 36 infections

Floyd County — Nora Springs Care Center: Four infections.

Fremont County — Tabor Manor Care Center: Four infections.

Johnson County — Iowa City Rehab & Health Care Center: Seven infections.

Lyon County — Fellowship Village: Nine infections.

Mills County — On With Life at Glenwood: Four infections.

Montgomery County — Good Samaritan Home-Villisca: Four infections.

Pottawattamie County — Avoca Specialty Care: 28 infections

Scott County — Kahl Home for the Aged & Infirm: Eight infections

Story County — Accura Healthcare of Ames: Seven infections

Union County — Creston Specialty Care: 12 infections

Wapello County — Ridgewood Specialty Care: 11 infections

Wapello County — Vista Woods Care Center: Six infections

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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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