DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds pointed to long-term care facilities in three Iowa counties Monday that have become centers for outbreaks of COVID-19. The governor didn’t name the facilities but cited increased positive cases of the virus in Tama, Washington and Linn counties.
Staff previously confirmed an outbreak at Heritage Specialty Care in Cedar Rapids.
Information provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health listed the confirmed cases for the three counties:
- Tama County: 35 positive cases
- Washington County: 52 positive cases
- Linn County: 176 positive cases (most of any Iowa county)
“Every Iowan has a responsibility to keep our families, friends and communities safe, especially our most vulnerable and our health care workers who are serving on the front lines on this crisis,” the governor said during her daily briefing on the virus, “They (health care workers) don’t have the luxury of staying home. These heroes among us are putting their fears aside and are showing up to take care of us.”
The governor cited figures that show 48 percent of the virus-related deaths in Iowa involved residents at long-term care facilities. That would equal 12 of the 25 deaths reported so far.
The state deems staff at long-term care facilities as essential and gives them priority for testing of the virus, according to Sarah Reisetter, the Iowa Department of Public Health deputy director. “We have also been facilitating testing at some of the facilities that have been identified as long-term care outbreaks by working with the State Hygienic Laboratory and local public health agencies that do have testing capabilities with some of these facilities where there are concerns,” Reisetter said.