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By Clark Kauffman, Iowa Capital Dispatch

The number of COVID-19 infections in Iowa nursing homes more than doubled last week and now stands at 821.

The Iowa Department of Public Health said this week that as of Jan. 18, there were 63 Iowa nursing homes – about 15% of all skilled nursing facilities in the state – that were in outbreak status. Those 64 outbreaks have so far resulted in 821 infections of staff members and residents.

The data shows that over the past week, the number of nursing home outbreaks in Iowa increased 52%, from 41 to 63, and the number of infections increased 117%, from 378 to 821.

By comparison, there were only two Iowa nursing homes in outbreak status at one point last summer.  However, the current numbers are still well below the levels seen in November 2020, when there were 4,327 infections associated with 119 outbreaks in Iowa nursing homes.

The biggest current outbreaks in Iowa care facilities are at the state-run Iowa Veterans Home, and at Scott County’s Kahl Home for the Aged & Infirm. Both facilities have 55 infections associated with their current outbreaks.

This is the seventh outbreak at the Iowa Veterans Home, which is more than any other Iowa care facility. The six previous outbreaks at the Marshall County home resulted in at least 212 infections.

While 96% of the residents at the Iowa Veterans Home have been fully vaccinated, about 25% of the staff have refused the vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

During the pandemic, seven residents of the Iowa Veterans Home have died of COVID-19.

The veterans’ home isn’t the only Iowa care facility with a current, active outbreak that has fewer than 75% of its staff fully vaccinated. At ManorCare in West Des Moines, there are six infections associated with the latest outbreak there. According to CMS, only 61% of the staff there are fully vaccinated, and four residents of the home have died of COVID-19.

The biggest trouble spots for care-facility infections continue to be Linn County and Black Hawk County. In Linn County, there are six facilities in outbreak status, the same number as one week ago. In Black Hawk County, there are eight facilities in outbreak status, up from five one week ago.

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The Iowa Department of Public Health defines a nursing home outbreak as a facility with three or more active infections among the staffers and/or residents. The department says it does not track or report outbreaks and infections in state-licensed assisted living centers.

Nationally, Iowa has one of the highest vaccination rates among nursing home residents, with 93% of all residents fully vaccinated. Only seven other states have a higher vaccine acceptance rate among care facility residents. However, only 78% of Iowa’ nursing home workers are fully vaccinated. There are only 16 other states that have a lower percentage of vaccine acceptance among care facility workers.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 13,679 Iowa nursing home residents have contracted COVID-19, and 2,633 of them have died.

Here’s a look at the Iowa care facilities currently in outbreak status:

Allamakee County — Good Samaritan Home of Postville: 11 infections.

Benton County — The Vinton Lutheran Home: Five infections.

Black Hawk County — Friendship Village Retirement Center: Eight infections.

Black Hawk County — Martin Health Center: 15 infections.

Black Hawk County — NewAldaya Lifescapes: 47 infections.

Black Hawk County — Northcrest Specialty Care: Seven infections.

Black Hawk County — Pillar of Cedar Valley:   32 infections.

Black Hawk County — Pinnacle Specialty Care: 15 infections.

Black Hawk County — Ravenwood Specialty Care: Seven infections.

Black Hawk County — The Suites of Western Home Communities: 20 infections.

Boone County — Madrid Home for the Aging: 10 infections.

Bremer County — Denver Sunset Home: Four infections.

Buena Vista County — Methodist Manor Retirement Community: Six infections.

Carroll County — Thomas Rest Haven: Four infections.

Cedar County — Mechanicsville Specialty Care: 21 infections.

Crawford County — Denison Care Center: Seven infections.

Dallas County — Arbor Springs of West Des Moines: Eight infections.

Dallas County — Perry Lutheran Home: Four infections.

Des Moines County — Azria Health Prairie Ridge: Three infections.

Dubuque County — Sunnycrest Manor: Six infections.

Emmet County — Valley Vue Care Center: Seven infections.

Franklin County — Rehabilitation Center of Hampton: 11 infections.

Harrison County — Longview Home: 11 infections.

Henry County — New London Specialty Care: Five infections.

Howard County — Evans Memorial Home: Six infections.

Iowa County — English Valley Nursing Care Center: Five infections.

Jefferson County — Sunny Brook Living Care Center: 29 infections.

Jones County — Anamosa Care Center: 13 infections.

Keokuk County — Manor House Care Center: 11 infections.

Kossuth County — Algona Manor Care Center: 19 infections.

Lee County — Mississippi Valley Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center: 27 infections.

Lee County — The Madison: 11 infections.

Linn County — Heritage Specialty Care: 12 infections.

Linn County — Hiawatha Care Center: 29 infections.

Linn County — Living Center West: Five infections.

Linn County — Northbrook Manor Care Center: Seven infections.

Linn County — Oakview Nursing & Rehabilitation of Marion: Four infections.

Linn County — Winslow House Care Center: 10 infections.

Madison County — QHC Winterset North: 12 infections.

Marshall County — Iowa Veterans Home: 55 infections.

Plymouth County — Akron Care Center: Four infections.

Polk County — Altoona Nursing and Rehabilitation Center: Five infections.

Polk County — ManorCare Health Services-West Des Moines: Six infections.

Polk County — Trinity Center at Luther Park: 14 infections.

Polk County — Wesley Acres: Five infections.

Pottawattamie County — North Crest Living Center: Eight infections.

Pottawattamie County — Risen Son Christian Village: Nine infections.

Scott County — Davenport Lutheran Home: 16 infections.

Scott County — Good Samaritan Home – Davenport: Seven infections.

Scott County — Kahl Home for the Aged & Infirm: 55 infections.

Scott County — ManorCare Health Services-Utica Ridge: Seven infections.

Shelby County — Salem Lutheran Home: 12 infections.

Sioux County — Sioux Center Health Royale Meadows: 48 infections.

Story County — Bethany Life: Four infections.

Story County — Northridge Village: Five infections.

Tama County — Westbrook Acres: 17 infections.

Warren County — Regency Care Center: Five infections.

Washington County — Halcyon House: Six infections.

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Washington County — Pleasantview Home: 17 infections.

Webster County — QHC Fort Dodge Villa: Four infections.

Woodbury County — Westwood Specialty Care: 12 infections.

Worth County — Lutheran Retirement Home: 18 infections.

Worth County — Manly Specialty Care: Eight infections.

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