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Heritage Specialty Care in Cedar Rapids has recovered from COVID-19 outbreak, according to Linn County Public Health


A banner outside of Heritage Specialty Care in Cedar Rapids allows people to leave positive messages for residents and staff members during the COVID-19 crisis. April 20, 2020. — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

Heritage Specialty Care, a long-term care facility in Cedar Rapids, has recovered from an outbreak of COVID-19, Linn County Public Health announced on Thursday. The department defines “recovery” as no new cases for 28 consecutive days, which is two incubation periods.

Heritage was the first long-term care facility in Linn County to experience an outbreak of the virus. The Gazette reported on March 24 that two employees had tested positive for COVID-19. A couple of days later on March 26 it was reported that four residents had tested positive.

Over the course of the following two months, 114 residents and staff members tested positive for COVID-19. A total of 85 residents and staff members have recovered. Twenty-six residents died from the virus.

“We are grateful that our staff and residents are again healthy and we appreciate the support of Linn County Public Health during this outbreak,” Heritage Specialty Care administrator Nick Jedlicka said in a news release. “I would also like to thank our dedicated staff who made it possible for Heritage to work through such a difficult situation.”

Iowa currently has 38 outbreaks at long-term care facilities, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. IDPH defines an outbreak as three or more residents of a long-term care facility testing positive for COVID-19.

“When we’re looking at a nursing home, you’re looking at individuals that are older and have multiple health issues, you are looking at individuals that live very closely together, and then you also have health care workers,” LCPH Clinical Services Supervisor Heather Meador said during a county press conference in April.

“So, unfortunately, a nursing home is just almost a breeding ground for something like this to happen because of the individuals that are there, and again, this virus spreads very quickly.”

Messages of encouragement for Heritage residents and staff were left on a banner outside the facility. April 20, 2020. — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

Four of the state’s current long-term care outbreaks are in Linn County.

LCPH is in communication with all long-term care facilities in the county. Meador said the facilities fill out a survey daily about personal protective equipment, staffing, if residents and staff are ill and how many residents and staff members have been diagnosed with the virus.

On Thursday, IDPH is reporting the following cases numbers at Linn County’s long-term care facilities:

Cottage Grove Place in Cedar Rapids: 8 confirmed cases among residents/staff, 6 have recovered

ManorCare Health Services in Cedar Rapids: 48 confirmed cases among residents/staff, 29 have recovered

Living Center West in Cedar Rapids: 79 confirmed cases among residents/staff, 61 have recovered

Linn Manor Care Center in Marion: 38 confirmed cases among residents/staff, 30 have recovered

There are no long-term care facilities experiencing an outbreak in Johnson County, according to IDPH.

Retirement communities and senior living facilities also house individuals who are at higher risk for COVID-19, but the guidelines in Iowa for making information public about COVID-19 cases are different for those places. If a retirement community in the state experiences cases within assisted or independent living, IDPH will not publicly report it.


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