COVID-19 outbreaks reported at 31 Iowa nursing homes, the most since February – The Gazette

The door to the COVID-19 isolation ward is shown in May 2020 at Cottage Grove Place in Cedar Rapids. The facility credited its success at stemming a COVID-19 outbreak to establishing the ward in its skilled nursing facility. (The Gazette)

Thirty-one long-term care facilities in Iowa have reported an outbreak of COVID-19 among staff and residents, the highest total seen in months.

It’s the most outbreaks — three or more positive cases of the virus among staff and residents — since Feb. 15, shortly after COVID-19 vaccines became available in the facilities, according to new coronavirus data released by the Iowa Department of Public Health on Wednesday.

Last week, 25 long-term care facilities reported an outbreak in Iowa.

About 65 percent of Iowa’s nursing home health care staff was fully vaccinated as of Sept. 15, according to the AARP Nursing Home COVID-19 dashboard.

New cases

The state reported 9,860 new cases of the virus in the past week, compared to 10,812 cases reported last Wednesday.

Iowa’s seven-day positivity rate was 9.7 percent.

The age 17 and younger age group continued to have the largest share of new cases — 23 percent — in the past week, according to a Gazette analysis.

The remaining age groups reporting new cases were:

  • 18 to 29: 16 percent
  • 30 to 39: 17 percent
  • 40 to 49: 14 percent
  • 50 to 59: 11 percent
  • 60 to 69: 10 percent
  • 70 to 79: 6 percent
  • 80 and over: 3 percent

Linn County reported 755 new cases in the past week, compared to 762 cases the week before. The county’s positivity rate was 10.5 percent, up from last week’s 9.9 percent.

Johnson County reported 265 new cases, compared to last week’s 362, with a positivity rate of 5.6 percent, down from last week’s 6.8 percent.

All 99 Iowa counties continue to have the highest “red” rates of community transmission of the virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


COVID-19 hospitalizations inched up in the past week to 626, compared to 624 reported last Wednesday.

Intensive care unit patients declined to 141 this week, from 157 the week before. The number of patients on a ventilator dropped this week to 66 from 80, data shows.

Those aged 17 and younger represent 3 percent of new hospital admissions, state data shows. The 18 to 29 age group represents 6 percent.

Individuals who are not fully vaccinated account for 74.1 percent of patients hospitalized with the virus — the lowest percentage since the state has begun sharing that statistic Sept. 2.

Last week, those not fully vaccinated made up 81.2 percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Those not fully vaccinated made up 85.8 percent of ICU patients in the past week.


An additional 16,131 individuals statewide were fully vaccinated against the coronavirus over the past week, bringing the total number of fully immunized Iowans to 1,626,635.

That’s 51.56 percent of the entire state population and 60.78 percent of the population aged 12 and older.

A total of 130,888 Linn County residents were fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, an increase of 902 from last week. That is 57.73 percent of the total population and 72.54 of the population aged 16 and older.

In Johnson County, an additional 657 residents were fully vaccinated last week, bringing the number of fully vaccinated residents to 93,851. That’s 62.10 percent of the total population and 75.50 percent of residents aged 16 and older.


On Wednesday, the state public health department announced it would provide “more timely results to symptomatic Iowans” seeking COVID-19 tests by providing same-day delivery to the State Hygienic Lab from seven Test Iowa drop-off sites.

Two of those sites are Linn County Public Health, 1020 Sixth St. SE in Cedar Rapids, and Johnson County Public Health, 855 South Dubuque St. in Iowa City.

The other drop-off sites with same-day delivery are Peoples Community Health Clinic in Waterloo; Polk County Public Health in Des Moines; Pottawattamie County Public Health in Council Bluffs; Scott County Public Health in Davenport; and Siouxland District Health Department in Sioux City.

Earlier this year, state officials launched an at-home COVID-19 testing program through Test Iowa that provided Iowans with free testing kits that they could mail to the State Hygienic Lab for results.

However, with a turnaround time that could take days, some expressed concern about the availability of timely test results.

“This change is being made to expedite test processing,” state officials said in a news release.

Iowans can drop off their kits for testing at these seven Test Iowa locations Monday through Friday, but hours may vary at each site. Results, which will be sent by email, should be available within 24 hours of the lab receiving the test kit.


Iowa confirmed 88 new deaths this week, bringing the seven-day average to 13 — the highest average since 14 on April 9. Last week, the seven-day average was 11.

The state also subtracted three deaths — including one from May and two from August — from its official coronavirus death toll.

That brings the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Iowa since March 2020 to 6,651.

Of the 88 deaths, eight occurred in Linn County and three took place in Johnson County.

Polk County reported 14 deaths, followed by Scott and Wapello counties each with 4 deaths. Marion and Wright counties both reported 3 deaths each.

Two deaths occurred in Dubuque, Fayette, Franklin, Hancock, Lee, Madison, Muscatine, Pottawattamie, Poweshiek and Woodbury counties.

Counties reporting one death each were Black Hawk, Buchanan, Cerro Gordo, Cherokee, Decatur, Des Moines, Dickinson, Emmet, Floyd, Grundy, Guthrie, Hardin, Harrison, Ida, Jackson, Keokuk, Kossuth, Lucas, Marshall, Mills, Monona, Monroe, Montgomery, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Warren, Washington, Wayne and Winnebago.

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