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Linn County has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the state, as Iowa’s total of confirmed cases approaches 1,600


COVID-19 — U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Iowa Department of Public Health said on Sunday that seven more Iowans have died from COVID-19, one of the largest daily totals the department has reported since the state’s first death from the virus was reported on March 24.

One of the deceased was from Washington County, and over the age of 80. The other six were all residents of Linn County. Two of the deceased were between the ages of 61 and 80, and four were over the age of 80.

According to IDPH, the number of deaths from COVID-19 in Iowa now stands at 41.

IDPH also reported on Sunday that 77 more Iowans have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 1,587. The new cases include eight residents of Linn County and eight residents of Johnson County.

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

• Black Hawk County, 1 child (0-17 years), 1 adult (18-40 years), 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80 years), 1 elderly (81+)

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

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

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

• Dubuque County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 2 middle-age adults (41-60 years)

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

• Johnson County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 7 middle-age adults (41-60 years)

• Linn County, 2 adults (18-40 years), 3 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years), 1 elderly (81+)

• Louisa County, 1 adult (18-40 years), 5 middle-age adults (41-60 years)

• Lyon County, 1 adult (18-40 years)

• Marshall County, 3 middle-age adults (41-60 years)

• Muscatine County, 4 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 2 older adults (61-80 years)

• Osceola County, 1 middle-age adult (18-40 years)

• Polk County, 6 adults (18-40 years), 3 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 3 older adults (61-80 years), 2 elderly adult (81+)

• Scott County, 3 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 1 older adult (61-80)

• Tama County, 2 adults (18-40 years), 6 middle-age adults (41-60 years), 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 new cases bring the total of Linn County residents who have tested positive for the virus to 243, the most of any county in Iowa. Johnson County, where 203 confirmed cases have been reported, has the second-highest number of infected residents in the state.

Eighteen residents of Linn County ave now died from the virus, as have two residents of Johnson County.

The outbreak at Heritage Specialty Care, a nursing home in Cedar Rapids, accounts for the largest number of COVID-19 patients in Linn County and the majority of county’s deaths. Approximately half the residents in the nursing home and a quarter of its staff have tested positive for the virus, according to a statement from Care Initiatives, the West Des Moines nonprofit organization that owns the nursing home.

Sixty residents of Heritage Specialty Care had tested positive as of Friday, according to Care Initiatives. Fourteen had died, and the same number are now considered recovered. Thirty staff members have also tested positive as of Friday, seven of whom are considered recovered and have returned to work.

The Cedar Rapids nursing home outbreak was the first in a long-term-care facility reported by IDPH. The department has also reported outbreaks at two other long-term-care facilities, one in Washington County and the other in Tama County.

IDPH defines an “outbreak” of COVID-19 in a long-term-care facility as three or more residents testing positive for the virus. That definition is stricter than IDPH’s definition of an outbreak of flu in such facilities— one laboratory-confirmed case and “other respiratory illnesses on the same floor”—and differs from definitions used by other states.

Minnesota, for example, considers any resident, employee or contract-worker of a long-term-care facility testing positive to constitute an outbreak, because COVID-19 spread much more rapidly than flu or other respiratory illnesses.

Under IDPH’s definition neither long-term-care facility in Johnson County reporting cases of COVID-19 is experiencing an outbreak.

Bickford Senior Living in Iowa City has reported two cases of COVID-19, and Legacy Dial Senior Living, also in Iowa City, has reported a staff member tested positive for the virus.

According to IDPH Deputy Director Sarah Reisetter, the department considers three or more residents of a long-term-care facility testing positive as evidence of community spread of COVID-19 in a facility, which the department considers to be more accurate measurement of conditions in that facility.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story contained an error regarding the number of deaths in Linn County.


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