Cottage Grove Place, one of the largest senior living centers in Cedar Rapids, is now the site of a COVID-19 outbreak, making it the fifth long-term care facility in the county to experience such an outbreak.
As of Monday afternoon, Linn County Public Health officials confirmed five residents and staff have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at the facility, at 2115 First Ave. SE.
The death of one resident is associated with this outbreak.
State public health officials said on Monday that 28 long-term care facilities across Iowa have reported an outbreak, which is defined as three or more residents testing positive for the virus.
Over the weekend, a spokeswoman confirmed for The Gazette that about half the state’s coronavirus-related deaths are associated with long-term care facility outbreaks.
Last week, Cottage Grove Place Executive Director Mark Bailey told The Gazette that residents and staff within its skilled nursing facility had been infected with the virus. The long-term care facility had implemented daily temperature checks for all residents, and restricted staff members from moving to areas of the facility outside their designated work areas.
“We are taking very aggressive steps to prevent spread,” Bailey said at the time.
According to its website, Cottage Grove Place has a 52-unit skilled nursing center, 19 assisted-living apartments and 162 apartments for independent living.
According to local public health officials, other facilities in Linn County reporting a COVID-19 outbreak include:
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• Heritage Specialty Care, 200 Clive Dr. SW in Cedar Rapids, has seen the largest outbreak at a long-term care facility in the state. The facility has had 113 residents and staff test positive. Twenty-four residents have died, while 85 residents and staff have recovered.
• Living Center West, 1050 Fourth Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, which is owned by UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital, has reported 52 residents and staff have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Six deaths have been associated with this outbreak.
• ManorCare Health Services, 1940 First Ave. NE, also in Cedar Rapids, has had 37 positive tests among residents and staff. Three residents have died as a result of COVID-19.
• Linn Manor Care Center, 1140 Elm Dr., Marion, has reported 22 residents and staff have tested positive. Three residents have died.
Linn County Public Health officials declined to say whether there were other long-term care facilities locally that were seeing cases of COVID-19 but did not meet the metrics for an outbreak.
Heather Meador, clinical services branch supervisor at Linn County Public Health, said officials cannot disclose the names of facilities with cases, but added “we try to intervene as quickly as possible so we can help reduce the burden of infection within that facility.”
However, with COVID-19, Meador said public health officials are finding that once they find a case within a facility, “it’s almost too late. It’s already spread to many people.”
The novel coronavirus is highly transmissible, meaning it easily spreads among individuals. In addition, Meador said it can take up to two weeks before infected individuals start to show symptoms.
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“So unfortunately, that virus may have been spreading around long before we start to see any symptoms,” she said.
Gov. Kim Reynolds also discussed the highly transmissible nature of the novel coronavirus during her daily news conference on Monday morning.
“Once the virus is in any facility, congregate setting or even households where many people work in close proximity or live with each other, it spreads quickly and it spreads easily,” Reynolds said at the state emergency operations center in Johnston. “That’s what we’re trying to get in front of it by conducting targeted diagnostic and serology testing for employees at businesses and long-term care facilities where the stakes are high.”
Reynolds said her office was sending “strike teams” — clinicians from state agencies, including the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Human Services — to several long-term care facilities and manufacturing facilities across the state to test employees for the virus. This move will help officials be “proactive in managing (virus) activity,” she said.
Meador said Linn County Public Health does not plan to use the resource, as those strike teams have been aiding counties that do not have as robust public health resources as Linn County. Instead, the county agency is asking any long-term care facility to reach out.
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