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COVID-19: 451 more Iowans test positive; new cases and deaths at long-term care facilities surge


Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Another 451 Iowans were confirmed as having COVID-19 between 10 a.m. on Thursday and 10 a.m. on Friday, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. The newly reported cases increase the state’s total to 40,960.

The state’s positivity rate for that 24-hour period—the percentage of people tested who were confirmed as having COVID-19 — was 10 percent.

The department also reported another five deaths. The state’s official COVID-19 death toll now stands at 820.

Both Johnson and Linn County saw double-digit increases in the number of residents testing positive for COVID-19 during the 24-period ending at 10 a.m. on Friday. Twenty new cases were reported in Johnson County, and Linn County had 40 new cases.

The positivity rate for Johnson County was 7.8 percent and in Linn County, it was 9.5 percent.

On Thursday, the Linn County Sheriff’s Office reported that an inmate at the county jail had tested positive for COVID-19. In April, a deputy sheriff assigned to the jail tested positive for the virus.

According to IDPH, 29,166 of the Iowans who have tested positive for COVID-19 are now considered recovered. The department considers anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to be recovered after 28 days, unless it is informed otherwise.

The number of COVID-19 cases at long-term care facilities in Iowa has sharply increased this week. As of Friday morning, there were 552 people at long-term care facilities — either residents or staff; IDPH statistics do not distinguish between the groups — who were diagnosed as having active cases of COVID-19. On Monday, IDPH was only reporting 437 cases.

There has also been a spike in the number of long-term care facility deaths from the virus during the week. On Monday, IDPH was reporting 425 of the Iowans who have died were residents of long-term care facilities. By 10 a.m. on Friday, that number had increased to 441.

According to IDPH, there are currently two active outbreaks of COVID-19 at long-term care facilities in Linn County, with 39 current cases at Willow Gardens Care Center and seven at Winslow House Care Center.

Last week, IDPH reported the first outbreak at a long-term care facility in Johnson County. Solon Nursing Care Center is listed as having 17 active cases.

IDPH only discloses the number of cases at a long-term care facility if those cases fit its definition of an “outbreak.” To meet that definition, at least three residents of a facility must test positive for the virus. It is an unusually restrictive definition for an outbreak; Minnesota, for example, considers a long-term care facility to have an outbreak if one resident, staff member or contract worker tests positive.

IDPH’s COVID-19 outbreak definition for long-term care facilities is also more restrictive than the department’s definition of an influenza outbreak at those facilities. Flu outbreaks are defined as one person testing positive and another resident on the same floor experiencing symptoms of a respiratory disease.


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