Story updated at 3:10 PM
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa coronavirus cases increased by 73 on Tuesday to a total statewide of 497 due to surging numbers in populous counties in central and eastern Iowa, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported.
One additional death was reported, a Muscatine resident between 41 and 60 years old. Seven people in Iowa have died of the disease caused by the coronavirus.
None of the new cases reported were located in north-central Iowa.
The virus is now present in 57 of Iowa’s 99 counties but case counts have been growing fastest in Linn County in eastern Iowa, where an additional 19 cases were reported Tuesday for a total of 90. On Monday, public health officials acknowledged an outbreak in a Cedar Rapids long-term care facility.
Heritage Specialty Care, a nursing home that has more than 100 residents in Cedar Rapids, confirmed Tuesday that it is the facility where the virus has infected residents and employees. Public health officials said Monday that 21 infections have now been linked to the outbreak, and that figure could rise.
The home is owned by West Des Moines-based Care Initiatives, which operates 44 skilled nursing and long-term care facilities in Iowa. Marketing director Jason Bridie said the home has about 125 employees, who are working extra shifts and up to 12-hour days to continue to care for residents.
“The people that are working are working their tails off and putting in an extraordinary amount of sacrifice,” he said. “We have people that aren’t going home to their families because they don’t want to risk the chance that maybe they are carrying it and don’t know it.”
He said that Heritage is so far the only one of its facilities that has seen a COVID19 infection. Staff members across the chain have enough personal protective equipment after receiving new supplies in recent days, he said.
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
Governor Kim Reynolds ★ Lt. Governor Adam Gregg
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2020
Additional COVID-19 cases in Iowa, additional death confirmed
DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has been notified of 73 additional positive cases of Iowans with COVID-19, for a total of 497 positive cases. One death was reported in Muscatine County, a middle-aged (41-60) resident. There have been a total of 6,888 negative tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs.
According to IDPH, the locations and age ranges of the 73 individuals include:
A status report of monitoring and testing of COVID19 in Iowa is provided by IDPH and can be found here. In addition, a public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431. The state of Iowa has started sharing the number of negative tests conducted at outside labs, and is providing additional information on the conditions of those infected with COVID-19.