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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

How Iowa reports and tracks long-term care facility outbreaks

There are 93 active outbreaks in these facilities as of Monday night. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 181 facilities total have reported outbreaks.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Since the beginning of the pandemic, Iowans have been told over and over that those with underlying health conditions and the elderly are the most susceptible to the coronavirus. 

Those in long-term care (LTC) facilities are even more susceptible. 

These individuals live in close quarters and gather for activities daily, creating the perfect conditions for community spread. 

As of Monday evening, 93 LTC facilities are experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak with nearly 2,900 positive individuals. 

The Iowa Department of Public Health says 181 of Iowa's 434 LTC facilities have experienced an outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic. That's as of Oct. 29. 

As of that day, 3,697 total LTC residents had tested positive. 

So how does the state keep on top of these outbreaks? 

IDPH says long-term care facilities, like nursing homes, report directly to them when three or more residents test positive within 14 days. 

The state keeps track of outbreaks on it's coronavirus website. There is a specific dashboard that records all of the data.

The dashboard only reports cases and recoveries from current outbreaks. This means once a facility goes 28 days without reporting a new case, their data is taken off the site. 

However, deaths on this dashboard are a running total, according to the department.

The reason why this dashboard doesn't keep a running total of cases and recoveries is because that information is recorded on the positive case analysis dashboard

IDPH says information on past outbreaks is available on request.

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