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North Iowa nursing home one of 27 in state reporting COVID-19 outbreak

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A spate of new COVID-19 outbreaks are popping up in Iowa nursing homes.

Currently, there are 27 Iowa nursing homes in outbreak status, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health, which means that each has had at least three staffers and/or residents infected. A total of 259 infections are associated with those outbreaks. 

Rockwell Nursing Home

Rockwell Community Nursing Home reported four COVID-19 infections, putting it in outbreak status.

Among the 27 facilities is Rockwell Community Nursing Home, which reported an outbreak to the state last week, after four people became infected with the virus. 

Mike Flatness, Board President of Rockwell Community Nursing Home, said that all necessary guidelines and procedures are followed within the facility.

The nursing home last updated its website’s COVID-19 page in March, which states the home would "continue to restrict visitors, except for medical personnel, and end-of-life situations." Flatness declined to say whether the website would be updated with current information in light of the outbreak.

Jeremy Otto of CG Public Health said Rockwell Nursing Home has not notified county officials about the outbreak, but noted that nursing homes are only required to tell the state about outbreaks. Additionally, Otto said there’s not much assistance that CG could give the facility, should they reach out. “We would offer tips and tricks but can't do anything [to help] directly," Otto said.

According to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, Iowa’s largest active nursing-home outbreak is in the English Valley Nursing Care Center in Iowa County, where there are 44 infections.

According to the CMS, there have been four resident deaths at the home due to COVID-19. While 96% of the residents of at English Valley have been fully vaccinated, only 80% of the staff have been fully vaccinated, according to CMS.

Flatness also declined to offer an opinion on employee vaccine mandates.

This story is republished with permission of Iowa Capital Dispatch

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