First COVID-19 death of a Johnson County resident reported as the state’s cases reach 868

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2019 novel coronavirus — CDC

On Sunday, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported the first COVID-19 death of a Johnson County resident. According to the department, the deceased was between the ages of 61 and 80.

IDPH reported seven other deaths from COVID-19 on Sunday.

• Appanoose County, 1 elderly adult (81+)

• Polk County, 2 older adults (61-80 years), 1 elderly adult (81+)

• Linn County, 1 elderly adult (81+)

• Scott County, 1 elderly adult (81+)

• Washington County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)

The newly reported deaths bring the state’s total of COVID-19 fatalities to 22. Six of the deceased have been residents of Linn County.

IDPH also reported on Sunday that 83 more Iowans have tested positive for the virus, bringing the state’s total to 868.

• Allamakee County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)

• Benton County, 2 middle-age (41-60 years)

• Black Hawk, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 middle-age (41-60 years)

• Boone County, 1 middle-age (41-60)

• Buchanan County, 2 adults (18-40 years)

• Cedar County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)

• Clarke County, 1 adult (18-40 years)

• Clayton County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)

• Clinton County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)

• Dallas County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)

• Hamilton County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)

• Henry County, 2 elderly adults (81+)

• Johnson County, 7 adults (18-40 years), 3 middle-age adults (41-60 years)

• Jones County, 1 adult (18-40 years)

• Linn County, 3 adults (18-40 years), 8 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 4 older adults (61-80 years), 7 elderly adults (81+)

• Louisa County, 1 elderly adult (81+), 4 middle-age adults (41-60 years)

• Muscatine County, 2 adults (18-40 years), 3 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years)

• Plymouth County, 1 adult (18-40 years)

• Polk County, 3 adults (18-40 years), 8 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years)

• Scott County, 3 adults (18-40 years)

• Shelby County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)

• Tama County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)

• Warren County, 1 middle-age adult (41-60 years)

• Washington County, 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years)

The 10 new cases in Johnson County IDPH reported on Sunday bring its number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 to 106. The 22 new cases reported in Linn County make for a total of 161.

In its daily reports, IDPH typically doesn’t give any information about either deaths or new infections beyond an individual’s approximate age and county of residence. But in its Sunday report, the department included three new statistics.

According to IDPH, “70 of Linn County’s 161 positive cases (43%) can be attributed to an outbreak at a long-term care facility.” Although the department did not identify the facility, the Gazette reported on March 24 that two employees at Heritage Specialty Care, a nursing home in Cedar Rapids, had tested positive for the virus.

IDPH also said, “More than 10% of all positive cases in Iowa are occurring among long-term care staff and residents. More than 40% of all deaths in Iowa are associated with outbreaks in long-term care facilities.”

The department said it and local public health officials “continue to work closely” with the state’s long-term care facilities to try to ensure the health of residents and staff.

As of March 30, there were at least six long-term care facilities in Iowa that had reported cases of COVID-19. But little information beyond that is available. As IDPH has responded to reporters’ questions about the possibility the virus has spread to other long-term care facilities by saying that information is confidential.

On March 4, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service issued a directive to state agencies that oversee long-term care facilities to increase inspections and monitoring of facilities that have been cited for serious infection-control violations. In Iowa, it is the Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA), not IDPH, that oversees those facilities.

Last week, Iowa Capital Dispatch reported DIA said “its inspectors do not have any personal protective equipment to use when they go inside nursing homes — and said that in some cases such equipment is unnecessary.”

“We do not have PPE at this time,” DIA spokesperson Stefanie Bond told the Dispatch’s Clark Kaufmann. “In some cases, it is not needed. In others, a facility may provide PPE for the [inspectors].”

Kaufmann asked Gov. Reynolds at her March 30 press conference if DIA had enough resources to properly monitor the state’s long-term care facilities during the pandemic.

“DIA is staffed and equipped to handle that,” the governor replied.

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