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COVID-19 in Iowa nursing homes continues to spread

COVID-19 in Iowa nursing homes continues to spread

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The number of COVID-19 outbreaks and infections is continuing to climb in Iowa nursing homes, nearly doubling the levels set in July.

In late July, there were 502 infections tied to 20 active nursing home outbreaks in Iowa, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported. Over the next month, the number of COVID-19 infections associated with active outbreaks increased 66% to 835. Since August, the cumulative total of COVID-19-related deaths in Iowa nursing homes has climbed from 508 to 671.

On Sept. 13, the White House coronavirus task force recommended that Iowa impose a statewide mask mandate to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the state's nursing homes. The report noted that "COVID-19 is being brought into nursing homes through community transmission."

Gov. Kim Reynolds has resisted calls for a statewide mask mandate, saying she trusts Iowans to act responsibly.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported Tuesday there were 41 active COVID-19 outbreaks in Iowa nursing homes, up slightly from the 39 reported five days earlier. The department reported 939 staff and resident infections associated with those 41 outbreaks.

The Iowa nursing home with the most infections associated with a current outbreak is the Good Samaritan home in Ottumwa, with 84 infections, the same number that was reported at the facility one week ago.

There were six Polk County nursing homes with active outbreaks in recent days, and the number of staff and resident infections at those homes totaled 100.

The World-Herald trimmed a portion of this story that did not pertain to our region.

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