OTTUMWA, Iowa — After nearly a week with no coronavirus cases in any Iowa long-term care facility, 10 residents at Good Samaritan Society in Ottumwa have tested positive for the virus.
Residents and staff were vaccinated in January, according to KYOU-TV.
Good Samaritan was the site of one of the state's worst coronavirus outbreaks, infecting nearly 100 residents and killing 31 over the last year.
"The antibody treatment called bamlanivimab, the first treatment for COVID-19, has been made available for any residents who qualify for such treatment," Vani Tschantz, administrator of the facility, said. "The goal of the infusion is to lessen the severity of the virus and prevent admissions to the hospital."
Tschantz also said in a statement, "there is a direct correlation between a rise in cases and community spread" with what happens inside nursing homes.
According to the state's coronavirus website, Wapello County has a positivity rate of 8% the past seven days.
98% of the facility's residents have received the vaccine, and vaccine education "has played a large part over the past several months" according to Tschantz.
That education includes live video chats with leadership, vaccine campaigns, and video messages to all staff.
Staff members are being tested twice a week right now due to the county's high positivity rate. Residents are tested once a week, complying with the state's Department of Health guidelines.
"We continue to take extra precautions and are using vigorous infection control measures while also working closely with the Iowa Department of Public Health," Tschantz said in a statement to Local 5. "The health, safety and well-being of our residents, staff and the community we serve remain our top priority."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says those who receive the vaccine can still get coronavirus even after they get the shot. It takes a few weeks to build up immunity against the virus.
"It is indeed possible to be infected by coronavirus even if you've had the COVID vaccine just like it's possible with any other vaccine that we have," said Tricia Newland with UnityPoint Health.
"None of our vaccines are 100%. The ones we have are excellent. They're somewhere around 95%, but that does leave a small percentage of people that it just doesn't work as well. And that is often because their own immune systems maybe don't respond as well."
People are considered fully protected two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Scientists are still learning how long the vaccines protect individuals, and whether or not those vaccinated can still spread the disease.
On March 13, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued updated guidance for nursing homes to safely expand visitation options during the pandemic.
Facilities in Iowa are now allowed to offer "responsible indoor visitation" at all times to all residents, regardless of vaccination status. Certain situations, such as the positivity rate in the county and the rate of residents vaccinated, would limit visitation policies.
Watch: The virus attacks Iowa's most vulnerable citizens | COVID Cause & Effect, Ep. 4