Second Dickinson County COVID-19 death reported

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Iowa Department of Public Health Officials on Saturday confirmed a second death involving a Dickinson County resident, due to COVID-19. Both deaths involved men over the age of 80, according to Lakes Regional Healthcare officials. The residents was not cared for at the Spirit Lake hospital.

Lakes Regional Healthcare still has all three ICU beds available and many more available in the medical-surgical (inpatient) department.

Iowa Great Lakes has 212 cases of COVID-19 and 87 recoveries as of Tuesday night.

"We strongly ask everyone to stay vigilant limit crowds and wear face masks at all times when in public in order to limit the spread," LRH President and CEO Jason Harrington said. "We are also encouraging businesses to have their employees wear face masks in order to set an example, protect their patrons, and preserve their workforce. And if you test positive, please self-quarantine and tell those who have been exposed to you to get tested as well."

First 'outbreak' reported in Dickinson County

The number of COVID-19 cases and recoveries continue to climb in the Iowa Great Lakes and for the first time a long-term care facility in the area has been listed as the site of an outbreak.

Accura Healthcare of Milford is one of 30 locations in the state currently listed as the location of a long-term care COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The state's online dashboard for novel coronavirus information lists 10 people who have been infected at the facility. Two people have recovered.

Lisa Toti, Accura's vice president of strategic and organizational engagement, said Accura Healthcare currently has nine residents in the nursing home, one tenant from the assisted living suites and two staff members who have tested positive for the virus. All COVID-19 positive residents were moved to an isolation wing with dedicated staff and a separate building access.

"We have also provided a camper for these staff members to take breaks so they are separated from the other staff and we have a tent allowing them to changing PPE and into clean clothes before leaving the facility," she said.

The state lists 891 current positive tests associated with long-term care facility outbreaks. The count includes 356 deaths and 557 recoveries. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has encouraged long-term care facilities in the state to proactively test both staff and residents for the virus.

Accura Healthcare of Milford's COVID-19 mitigation efforts have included reinforced infection control, use of personal protective equipment, disinfection of high-traffic areas every half-hour and not permitting visitors of any kind in the building.

"Despite the virus finding a way into the facility, we want the families and community to know that the employees at Accura are dedicated to the care and love of our residents and we are adhering to all requirements of the Iowa Department of Health, CMS, and CDC and they have recommended no changes to our processes at this time," Toti said.

The designation of an outbreak comes about three weeks after a staff member at the care center tested positive for COVID-19. The positive test came back May 31 and the affected staff member was removed from duties that same day. Toti said none of the local care facility's residents tested positive for the virus at the time.

None of the COVID-19 positive cases from the facility have required hospitalization.

"We take the responsibility of protecting our residents and families very seriously and pray for an end of this pandemic and its harmful impact on our communities," Accura President and CEO Ted LeNeave said in a statement after the staff member was diagnosed. "We are extremely grateful for our amazing employees who are heroes in delivering care on the front lines of this pandemic."

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