With 29 active COVID outbreaks, one-third of Iowa nursing home workers still unvaccinated

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At least 284 residents and nursing home workers in Iowa are infected with COVID-19 following ongoing outbreaks in 29 different care facilities. As of August 1, there was only one nursing home in Iowa with an active outbreak of COVID-19.

According to the federal government, 36% of nursing home workers in Iowa are still not vaccinated.

Statewide, 11,675 nursing home residents were infected with COVID-19 during the pandemic, and according to CMS. That number equals 60% of all residents of state nursing homes, according to the federal agency. A total of 2,434 Iowa nursing home residents have died.

Of the 29 healthcare facilities in Iowa with current outbreaks, the one with the most infections is also the only qualified nursing facility operated by the state of Iowa: the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown , where an outbreak that began on Aug. 20 has so far resulted in 26 infections, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

This is the sixth outbreak at the Iowa Veterans Home, which is the highest number of outbreaks in a care facility in the state. The five previous outbreaks of HIV have resulted in 146 infections.

The outbreak’s acting commander, Penny Cutler-Bermudez, did not immediately respond to questions on Friday about the outbreak’s COVID-19 response.

Last December, then-home commander Timon Oujiri said only 21 of the home’s 500 residents had contracted the virus, adding that some residents of the home called the facility’s COVID-19 unit “a 5-stars hotel”.

At the time, the total number of infected workers in the outbreak was almost six times greater than the total number of infected residents. Since then, staff at IVH and other health care facilities have been slow to accept the vaccine.

According to Medicare and Medicaid Service Centers, six residents of the veterans’ home have died from COVID-19, and 29% to 30% of IVH staff have not yet been vaccinated. Throughout 2021, state officials have said they are encouraging workers to get vaccinated. The percentage of IVH workers refusing the vaccine did not change dramatically, but fell to 37% on March 1.

Iowa’s vaccination rate high for nursing home residents, lower for staff

Almost 92% of Iowa nursing home residents have been vaccinated. Of the 50 states, only six others have a higher vaccination rate of nursing home residents. However, Iowa doesn’t fare as well as other states when it comes to nursing home workers. According to CMS, only 21 other states have a worker acceptance rate lower than Iowa’s 64%.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has opposed workers in public or private health care facilities being vaccinated.

On August 18, the Biden administration issued a vaccination warrant for workers in all of the country’s 15,000 nursing homes that raise Medicare or Medicaid funds. The administration has said it intends to cut that funding for any homes that don’t comply.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said an average of 60% of nursing home staff in the United States had not yet been vaccinated, a rate they say leaves facilities care at a higher risk of epidemics among residents and staff.

In response to an official request for Open Records Law records, the Iowa Department of Public Health revealed earlier this week that these 29 Iowa care facilities are grappling with a current and active outbreak of COVID- 19:

Black Hawk County – Friendship Village Retreat Center: The outbreak began on September 13, with three infections to date. A previous outbreak at the facility in the spring of 2020 resulted in 47 infections.

Bremer County – Denver Sunset Home: The outbreak began on September 10, with three infections so far. A previous outbreak at the facility last fall resulted in 15 infections.

Clay County – Longhouse-Northshire Ltd. : The epidemic began on August 24, with 17 infections so far.

Des Moines County – Oakview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center: The outbreak began on August 30, with three infections to date. A previous outbreak at the facility last winter resulted in six infections.

Dickinson County – Pearl Valley Rehab and Nursing in Lake Park: The outbreak began on September 8, with six infections so far.

Dubuque County – Ennoble Nursing and Rehabilitation: The epidemic began on August 23, with six infections so far. A previous outbreak at the facility last winter resulted in 70 infections.

Fayette County – Maple Crest Mansion: The outbreak began on August 16, with 13 infections to date.

Hardin County – Scenic Manor: The outbreak began on September 7, with seven infections so far. Two previous outbreaks have resulted in a total of 13 infections.

Iowa County – English Valley Nursing Care Center: The outbreak began on August 31, with 10 infections so far.

Jasper County – Newton Healthcare Center: The outbreak began on August 17, with three infections so far. A previous outbreak at the facility last summer resulted in 61 infections.

Johnson County – Briarwood Healthcare Center: The outbreak began on September 8, with six infections so far. A previous outbreak at the facility last winter resulted in 33 infections.

Lee County – Donnellson Health Center: The outbreak began on August 23, with eight infections so far. A previous outbreak at the facility last winter resulted in 14 infections.

Lee County – Mississippi Valley Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center: The outbreak began on September 8, with eight infections to date.

Linn County – Cottage Grove Place: The outbreak began on September 8, with eight infections so far. Two previous outbreaks have resulted in a total of 11 infections.

Linn County – Living Center West: The outbreak began on August 30, with nine infections so far. A previous outbreak at the facility in the spring of 2020 resulted in 61 infections.

Linn County – Cedar Rapids Gardens: The outbreak began on August 23, with five infections to date. A previous outbreak at the facility last winter resulted in 27 infections.

Mahaska County – Crystal Heights Care Center: The outbreak began on August 20, with 14 infections so far. A previous outbreak at the facility last summer resulted in 75 infections.

Marshall County – Grandview Heights: The outbreak began on September 12, with six infections so far. A previous outbreak at the facility last summer resulted in 79 infections.

Marshall County – Iowa Veterans Home: The outbreak began on August 20, with 26 infections so far. This is the sixth state-run home outbreak. Previous epidemics have resulted in 146 infections.

Mills County – On With Life in Glenwood: The outbreak began on September 6, with 10 infections so far.

Page County – Accura Healthcare of Shenandoah: The epidemic began on August 24, with 11 infections so far.

Page County – Goldenrod Manor: The outbreak began on August 23, with 25 infections so far.

Palo Alto County – Palo Alto County Hospital Nursing Center: The outbreak began on September 10, with six infections so far.

Plymouth County – Kingsley Specialty Care: The outbreak began on August 13, with 12 infections so far. A previous outbreak at the facility last summer and fall resulted in 15 infections.

Polk County – Sunny View Care Center: The outbreak began on August 23, with nine infections so far. A previous outbreak at the facility last winter resulted in seven infections.

Pottawattamie County – Bethany Lutheran Home: The outbreak began on August 30, with 16 infections so far. A previous outbreak at the facility last winter resulted in 86 infections.

Scott County – Iowa Masonic Home: The outbreak began on September 13, with three infections so far. Two previous outbreaks at home have resulted in 37 infections.

Scott County – Kahl house for the elderly and infirm: the epidemic began on August 19, with 22 infections to date. Two previous outbreaks at home have resulted in 31 infections.

Scott County – Riverview Manor Healthcare: The outbreak began on August 19, with nine infections so far. A previous outbreak at home last fall resulted in 59 infections.


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