AARP Iowa wants more transparency from state over long-term care COVID-19 outbreaks

Coronavirus Impacting Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa — AARP Iowa believes Iowans deserve more clarity when it comes to long term care outbreaks due to COVID-19.

“AARP would certainly like to see a little more transparency when it comes to exactly where those outbreaks are happening. Listing the specific nursing homes and daily showing how many outbreaks we are at and how many there have been so we can chart it and see specifically where we are heading in terms of the trajectory of this virus,” said AARP Iowa State Director Brad Anderson.

Currently the state updates the coronavirus summary dashboard every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. There are 19 outbreaks as of Tuesday night at long term care facilities but the website does not show where they have occurred, how many at each facility or whether the positive tests are from workers or residents.

Anderson says in August just 22% of nursing homes in Iowa had 75% or more of their workers vaccinated. He hopes with President Joe Biden tying Medicare and Medicaid funding to employee vaccinations those outbreaks will trend down and keep elderly Iowans safe.

Anderson said, “At this point, we have to assume those outbreaks are caused by unvaccinated workers because most of the residents are vaccinated. Over 90% of those residents are vaccinated. We haven’t seen those rates for nursing home workers which is another reason AARP called on mandatory vaccination for nursing home workers.”

AARP Iowa and Brad Anderson expect new data next week with updated numbers on employee vaccinations in nursing homes.

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