From one to none. Another positive milestone in Iowa’s pandemic experience, as the state website with coronavirus data now shows there are no Covid outbreaks in Iowa nursing homes this morning.
State officials say a nursing home is cleared from being labeled with Covid outbreak status if the facility goes 28 days without a new positive case among residents and staff. Yesterday, the Vista Wood Care Center in Wapello County was shown to have two active cases. A total of 13 residents and staff had tested positive for the virus in March. The facility has now gone four weeks without a new case of Covid.
Last spring, the state of Iowa began listing classifying nursing homes as being the site of a Covid outbreak is at least three residents tested positive for the virus. This morning, the state website shows 2,224 long term care residents have died of Covid during the pandemic.
Lori Ristau is with the Iowa Health Care Association, and says nearly all of the state’s 430 nursing homes have experienced an outbreak at some point.
“We got to the peak of the virus about November, December, and at that time, we had 167 facilities battling the virus in their buildings. So getting to zero today is tremendous, tremendous progress,” Ristau says.
She says the virus took a heavy toll on these residents. “Even though long-term care residents account for less than one percent of the population of the state, when it came to COVID, they accounted for nearly half of the deaths from the virus,” she says.
Long-term residents and staff were among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Ristau says all facilities are expected to be fully vaccinated by the end of this month.
(Natalie Krebs of Iowa Public Radio contributed to this story)