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2 resident deaths in Iowa Veterans Home COVID-19 unit not COVID-related

The Iowa Veterans Home told Local 5 both residents had "significantly compromised health conditions," so their deaths weren't designated as COVID deaths.

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — Two residents in the Iowa Veterans Home COVID-19 unit have died, but the facility didn't rule their deaths as COVID-related. 

The facility told Local 5 both residents had "significantly compromised health conditions," so their deaths weren't designated as a result of the virus.

The Iowa Veterans Home also reported no additional cases among residents or staff Monday. 

According to the state's COVID-19 Long Term Care dashboard, IVH is the only facility to have a COVID outbreak at this time with nine cases among residents and staff. The last positive test was administered on June 25. 

None of the positive individuals are considered to be recovered as of 6:20 p.m. Monday. 

Last week, the Iowa Department of Public Health said the COVID-19 variant infecting residents at the facility "is not variant of interest or variant of concern."

Sarah Ekstrand with the IDPH called the variant "already-existing" in an email to Local 5 Wednesday afternoon but did not specify which variant it is. 

Officials at the facility told Local 5 all residents at the facility are vaccinated, but not all staff.

"Just like other viruses, the Sars-CoV-2 virus can change over time. This virus has demonstrated a generally low mutation rate when compared to other RNA viruses such as HIV and influenza virus," Ekstrand said in an email. "IDPH is working with IVH to help them better understand the nature of the virus and how to communicate this information with their residents, families and guardians."

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