Three more nursing home outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported in Iowa in recent days, bringing the total number of care facility outbreaks to eight.
The increased spread in nursing homes coincides with recent, rapid growth in the community spread of COVID-19 in Iowa. According to the New York Times, there were 2,560 newly reported cases of COVID-19 throughout Iowa on Wednesday – the highest single-day tally since Dec. 11 of last year.
The weekly average of new infections reported each day in Iowa now stands at 1,016 – more than three times the average of 319 that was reported on July 29.
Hospitalizations in Iowa are up 35 percent over the past two weeks, and the overall rate of infection is up 46 percent over that same period, according to the Times.
The Newton Health Care Center in Jasper County posted a note to its Facebook page early this week, indicating that as of Aug. 22, it had four residents and one staff member who had tested positive for COVID-19.
The Iowa Department of Public Health did not disclose that outbreak in a cumulative list of all nursing home outbreaks that it gave the Iowa Capital Dispatch on Aug. 25. The department’s list also omitted a new outbreak at the state-run Iowa Veterans Home – the sixth COVID-19 outbreak at that facility since the beginning of the pandemic.
The agency has said that list was compiled days earlier and represented only a snapshot of confirmed cases at that point in time. A department spokesman conformed the Newton outbreak late Thursday, but did not respond when asked about other, previously unreported outbreaks in Iowa care facilities.
On Thursday, IDPH was reporting on its website that there were eight nursing homes in Iowa with current, active outbreaks. Because the department is no longer reporting the location or size of such outbreaks, the names of the facilities are uncertain.
However, IDPH identified, through a public-records request, five Iowa nursing homes that earlier this week were in COVID-19 outbreak status with at least three infections among staff and/or residents.
Assuming those five, the Newton facility and the veterans home outbreaks are all still active, seven of the eight sites referenced by IDPH on their website can be identified:
• Kingsley Specialty Care in Plymouth County, where eight residents and/or workers are infected.
• Pinnacle Specialty Care in Black Hawk County, where five residents and/or workers are infected.
• Hubbard Care Center in Hardin County, where six residents and/or workers are infected.
• Montrose Health Center in Lee County, where 14 residents and/or workers are infected.
• West Ridge Specialty Care in Marion County, where 15 residents and/or workers are infected.
• The Iowa Veterans Home in Marshall County, where the home’s clinical support director has reportedly informed families of three infections among the residents and five infections among the staff.
• The Newton Health Care Center in Jasper County, where five residents and/or staff members are infected.
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