State reports second outbreak of COVID-19 in a long-term care facility in Story County

David Mullen
Staff Writer
State health officials reported 35 new cases of COVID-19 throughout Story County on Thursday. File Photo.

State health officials have confirmed a second outbreak of the novel coronavirus at a long-term care facility in Story County.

Accura Healthcare of Ames had three residents and three employees test positive for the virus, said Lisa Toti, the facility’s vice president of strategic and organizational engagement, in a news release sent to the Ames Tribune.

“Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our residents, tenants, employees and their families,” the release read. “We are doing everything we can to ensure the virus does not spread within our facility.”

The facility has taken several steps to prevent the spread such as testing all residents, disinfecting high traffic areas every 30 minutes, and having all staff members wear personal protective equipment, according to the release.

As of Thursday none of the patients have recovered from the virus, officials said.

A facility is defined as having an outbreak when three or more cases are reported there.

Overall, 12 Bethany Life staff members and nine residents have tested positive for the virus, according to the facility’s website. Two residents with the illness have died, and other residents who tested positive have since recovered, Bethany Life CEO Betsy Warburton said. Three staff members who have not yet recovered are self-quarantining in their homes, Warburton said.

Health officials also reported 35 new cases of COVID-19 in Story County over the last 24 hours as of 10 a.m. Thursday.

Over the previous seven days, 152 cases have been confirmed by state and local health officials throughout the county, which is 67 fewer than the previous week, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health’s coronavirus website.

Steve Sullivan, a spokesperson for Mary Greeley Medical Center and Story County Public Health, confirmed the additional cases but did not have information about where the individuals were tested or their status.

Sullivan added that there are currently six patients admitted to Mary Greeley due to COVID-19.

State health officials announced 676 new cases of the novel coronavirus — the highest number this week — throughout the state and no new deaths in the 24-hour period that ended at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Since the pandemic breached the borders of Iowa in March, over 30,000 state residents have tested positive for the virus, which had resulted in 717 deaths as of 10 a.m. Thursday.

As of 10 a.m. Thursday, the state had reported 29,966 cases but shortly after noon the number surpassed 30,000.

Since March, over 316,000 Iowans have been tested for the virus and have tested positive at a 9.5% rate.

In Story County, of the 739 residents that have tested positive for the virus 279 individuals have fully recovered and three residents have died, according to the state’s coronavirus website.

On Wednesday, Story County surpassed 8,000 residents that have been tested for the virus, and of those tested, they are testing at a slightly lower rate than the rest of the state at 9.2%, according to the state’s coronavirus website.