Fourteen more COVID-19 deaths in ‘red zone’ Iowa

Nursing home outbreaks continue grow

Fourteen more Iowans reportedly died of COVID-19 on Wednesday, while the number of new infections hit 958.

Wednesday’s death toll was the highest since Sept. 9, when the state recorded 19 COVID-19 deaths, and the number of new infections was the highest since Sept. 4.

The White House said earlier this week that Iowa remains in the “red zone” for COVID-19 cases, indicating more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents — the third highest rate in the country. Iowa had 151 new cases per 100,000 residents last week, compared to a national average of 74 new cases per 100,000 residents.

As of Thursday afternoon, there had been at least 76,680 cases and 1,248 deaths in Iowa since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the New York Times’ COVID-19 database.

Over the past week, there have been an average of 727 cases per day, according to the Times. As is usually the case, the Times’ single-day tally of Iowa’s new infections and additional deaths conflicts with what is being reported by the Iowa Department of Public Health.

On Thursday, the department was reporting Wednesday’s total of new infections as 115 — about 12 percent of the new infections the New York Times was reporting for the same day. In addition, the state agency reported there had been one COVID-19 death on Wednesday, while the New York Times was reporting 19.

State public health officials have acknowledged problems with data reporting, but only after those issues have come to light through media reports. The agency has blamed what it calls an “antiquated” computer system as the reason it had been under-reporting daily case counts earlier this summer.

The department reports 39 active COVID-19 outbreaks in Iowa nursing homes, with 926 staff and resident infections associated with those 39 outbreaks. That’s an increase from the 36 outbreaks and 873 infections reported on Tuesday.

The Iowa nursing home with the most infections associated with a current outbreak is the Good Samaritan home in Ottumwa, with 84 infections, an increase of two from earlier in the week.

In late July, there were only 502 infections tied to 20 active nursing home outbreaks in Iowa. Over the next month, the number of COVID-19 infections associated with active outbreaks increased 66 percent to 835. Since August, the cumulative total of COVID-19-related deaths in Iowa nursing homes has climbed from 508 to 658.

Fourteen more COVID-19 deaths in ‘red zone’ Iowa, as nursing home outbreaks grow


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