More long-term care facilities report coronavirus outbreaks
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story contained an error. Nursing homes were reporting 4,950 current coronavirus cases on Monday.
Coronavirus infections are swelling in Iowa’s nursing homes, with another three facilities reporting outbreaks Monday.
Statewide, 156 nursing homes in Iowa had outbreaks Monday morning, up from 153 on Sunday. The total has increased by about 10 in the past week and is up from 114 on Nov. 19, when Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that 20 more facilities had outbreaks.
A nursing home is considered to have an outbreak if three or more residents have tested positive for the virus.
In the past 14 days, the number of positive coronavirus cases at the facilities has increased about 25%. According to the state’s website, there have been 997 cases reported in the past two weeks. On Monday, there are 4,950 confirmed cases in nursing homes.
More than 40% of Iowa’s COVID-19 deaths have been residents of those facilities. On Monday, the state was reporting 1,063 deaths among nursing home residents, up from 840 on Nov. 1. The total number of COVID-19 deaths was 2,403 on Monday.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.
The daily numbers
The latest data as of 10 a.m. Monday, compared to 10 a.m. Sunday:
- Confirmed cases: 228,996, an increase of 1,200
- Deaths: 2,403, an increase of 28
- Hospitalizations: 1,162, down from 1,175
- Patients in ICU: 224, down from 235
- Patients on ventilators: 147, down from 151
- Total tested: 1,211,086
- Total recovered: 132,210
During her Nov. 19 news conference, Reynolds announced she was providing $14 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act money to help facilities with increased costs related to testing and staffing.
The state also has provided updated guidelines on emergency staffing, she said.
Under those guidelines, staff members who have tested positive for coronavirus can continue working if they’re well enough, are wearing proper protective equipment and if there’s a staffing shortage, despite other mitigation efforts. The guidelines allow for those staffers to provide direct care to patients with confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses — or, as a “last resort,” for those without suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
While the long-term of nursing homes with outbreaks are up, the number of new coronavirus cases statewide is down compared to earlier in November.
At 10 a.m. Monday, the state was reporting 228,996 confirmed cases of coronavirus, an increase of 1,200 since the state’s tally at 10 a.m. Sunday, according to the state’s Coronavirus.Iowa.gov website.
The state was reporting 2,403 COVID-19-related deaths, an increase of 28 deaths since the state’s tally at 10 a.m. Sunday, according to the state’s website.
Iowa reported far fewer coronavirus cases last week, but experts warn that decreased testing during the Thanksgiving holiday, rather than an actual decrease in infections, may be a factor in the decline.
Fewer tests can result in dips in reported infections that offer the illusion that the spread of the virus is easing. And in fact, public health officials have expressed concern that holiday gatherings may result in a spike in coronavirus infections in coming weeks.
As of Monday, the total number of people tested is 1,211,086, according to the state. Of the people who have tested positive, 132,210 have recovered.
Hospitalizations were down in Iowa, as well.
On Sunday, 1,162 people were hospitalized in Iowa, down from 1,175 on Saturday, according to the latest information available from the state. Hospitals admitted 138 patients, up from 131. The state updates its website each evening with that day’s hospitalization data.
Also, there were 224 patients in the ICU, down from 235 the day prior. There were 147 patients on ventilators, down from 151 the day prior.
On Monday, the state was reporting 18.9% positive since the pandemic started. Iowa’s 14-day average was 17.8% positive, according to the state.
Of Iowa’s 99 counties, 87 had a 14-day positivity rate above 15% on Monday. Another 10 counties were reporting between 10% and 15%. Polk County, the state’s most populous, was at 16.2%. Two counties — Lucas and Poweshiek — were reporting below 10%.
The state calculates the positivity rate by dividing the number of individuals who tested positive over the past 14 days by the total number of individuals who were tested in total over those 14 days.
The Des Moines Register uses data from the Iowa Department of Public Health to report daily totals of Iowans tested for the coronavirus and Iowans who have tested positive for the virus, as of 10 a.m. each day. Since the pandemic began in spring, the state has made changes and corrections to how it reports that data and the data does not always agree with numbers reported from other sources.
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