UPDATE Nov. 26, 2020: On Thanksgiving Day, Iowa reported another record high number of nursing home coronavirus outbreaks, with 152. An additional 15 care center residents tied to the outbreaks have died, bringing the total to 1,038. Deaths from COVID-19 in Iowa increased by 41 in the past 24 hours, for a total of 2,312 since the pandemic began.
Just before Thanksgiving, Iowa reported its highest daily coronavirus death toll and a record number of nursing home outbreaks.
As of the morning of Nov. 25, 2020, the state reported an additional 47 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, with a total of 2,271 deaths since the pandemic began. Because of the method the state uses to track deaths, not all of the patients died within 24 hours, but reflects the highest number of deaths reported in a single day.
Wednesday’s report surpassed Iowa’s record high of 40 daily deaths, just one week ago.
Iowa also reported a new record high Nov. 25 with 149 nursing home outbreaks, representing more than one-third of the state’s 432 nursing homes listed by Medicare, up substantially from 22 outbreaks at the beginning of August.
An additional 15 deaths on Nov. 25 were tied to long-term care facilities, with a total of 1,023 residents of Iowa care centers reported dead from the outbreaks.
The state has reported 218,947 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Nov. 25, with 1,305 Iowans hospitalized, 269 in intensive care units, 150 on ventilators and 198 patients admitted in the past 24 hours.
On Tuesday, Nov. 24, Gov. Kim Reynolds offered no new mitigation strategies to save lives of nursing home residents or other Iowans during the pandemic.
During a press conference, Reynolds said the state would continue to work with the Department of Inspections & Appeals and other entities in monitoring the status of nursing homes.
She reiterated her position of having to balance “lives and livelihoods” during the pandemic and said her message had not changed.
“I’ll continue to ask Iowans to do the right thing,” Reynolds said. “We have to be careful about over-mitigating.”
Rather than issue a straightforward mask mandate, as the White House Coronavirus Task Force has advised — pointing to the connection between community outbreaks and nursing home deaths — Reynolds announced a set of convoluted mitigation steps earlier this month.