Despite Deaths, Other Linn Co. Nursing Home Not On Outbreak List

Map via COVID-19 in Iowa

By Nikoel Hytrek

April 15, 2020

Despite residents and staff testing positive for COVID-19, a second long-term care facility in Linn County hasn’t been counted in the state’s online data about the outbreak.


Five positive cases have been reported at Linn Manor Care Center in Marion. Two of those have been residents, three have been staff. The two residents have since died.

But on the Iowa Department of Public Health’s tracker, the only long-term care facility with outbreaks listed in Linn County is Heritage Specialty Care with a reported 102 cases.

In Iowa, cases at long-term care facilities make up the majority of the state’s death toll, and the number of outbreaks in long-term care facilities in an area of the state counts toward whether that area is ordered to shelter in place.

But to be considered an “outbreak,” there must be three resident cases — staff members cases, or deaths, don’t factor into the state’s equation.

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In the state’s metric system to potentially issue a shelter-in-place order, Iowa’s Region 6, which includes Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and Waterloo/Cedar Falls, is at a 9, with two long-term care outbreaks. One more could bump the region up to a 10, which in theory puts it into shelter-in-place territory.

The deputy director of IDPH, Sarah Reisetter, said three resident cases are required at a facility in order to count it as an outbreak. As of Monday, according to KCRG, there have been no new resident cases at Linn Manor Care Center.

KCRG reported that Linn County Public Health is monitoring cases at both Linn Manor and Care Center and Heritage Specialty Care. It’s issuing guidance for facilities to take steps like barring visitors and providing daily communication about resident statues. But there has been no talk of closing the facilities.

From KCRG’s reporting: “Heather Meador, Linn County Public Health’s clinical services branch supervisor, said the positive-testing employees were staying in isolation away from work, and that residents who had shown coronavirus symptoms were tested, with all the tests coming back negative.”

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While the state refreshes its numbers every 24 hours, Linn County Public Health updates its information throughout the day.


by Nikoel Hytrek
Posted 4/15/20

  • Nikoel Hytrek

    Nikoel Hytrek is Iowa Starting Line’s longest-serving reporter. She covers LGBTQ issues, abortion rights and all topics of interest to Iowans. Her biggest goal is to help connect the dots between policy and people’s real lives. If you have story ideas or tips, send them over to [email protected].

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