Iowa is no longer tracking COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes and has ended reporting of deaths and other information on its coronavirus website.
The state also discovered 6,700 COVID-19 positive test results dating back to March 2020 that had not been previously reported.
According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, those test results were for Iowans who received both a positive and negative result on the same day, causing an error in the reporting logic, which prevented them from being included in the daily counts. The error did not prevent Iowans from receiving accurate test results, the department stated.
Gov. Kim Reynolds allowed the State Public Health Disaster Emergency Proclamation to expire on Feb. 15, 2022, with the website no longer providing data updates as of Feb. 16.
Some of the data will transition to the Iowa Department of Public Health website, which reported 8,948 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Iowa since the start of the pandemic.
Other information, including nursing home outbreaks, will no longer be tracked by the state.
As of the latest report earlier this week, Iowa had 106 long-term care facility outbreaks, down slightly from the 114 outbreaks reported last week, but up significantly from last summer when outbreaks numbered in the single digits.
The Iowa Department of Public Health noted Feb. 16 that it is no longer requiring long-term care facilities to notify the department when they have three or more infections in residents, so outbreaks will no longer be reported publicly by the department.
Instead, the health department will use Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data to identify facilities with positive cases and will assist in infection control.
Reynolds said in a statement earlier this month that “it’s no longer feasible or necessary” to treat COVID-19 as a public health emergency and said COVID-19 could be “managed similarly” to the flu and other infectious diseases.
In its most recent update, as of Feb. 5, Iowa reported no flu-related nursing home outbreaks and 15 total deaths since Oct. 3.
That compares to the 106 nursing home outbreaks and 119 newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Iowa this week alone.
Iowa also reported 832,869 positive COVID-19 tests as of Feb. 16, with 7,375 positive in the last week.
Nationwide, 923,067 COVID-19 deaths have been confirmed as of Feb. 16, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.