COVID-19 Outbreak in Buena Vista County; Highest Rate in the State and Nursing Home Impact

11 hours ago

Credit Iowa Department of Public Health

Buena Vista County is experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19 cases.  As of Tuesday night, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported ten residents have died of the disease.  That's two more than reported earlier in the day when the head of the local health department talked to Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer about positive cases in the county.

Buena Vista County currently sees the highest infection rate of COVID-19 in the state of Iowa. The virus has tested positive in 8% of all residents.

“We kind of think it’s going to happen to someone else, but I think COVID-19 has actually surprised many people that it did happen to me.” 

That’s Pam Bogue, the administrator of Buena Vista County Public Health and Home Care who says when positive cases continued to climb last week she contacted the Iowa Department of Public Health.  Bogue worried about the easing of restrictions as cases close to home soared.

Bogue says the state came in and crunched the numbers, including the spread of disease and hospitalization rates.

“That is a lot of people.  But, we have done a lot of testing.  I don’t think that’s the sole reason for our numbers being so high.  But, that contributes.”

Once month ago, Buena Vista County saw 75 positive cases.  It now stands at 1,600.

“That is a lot of people.  But, we have done a lot of testing.  I don’t think that’s the sole reason for our numbers being so high.  But, that contributes.”

Bogue says a Test Iowa site in operation the past several weeks will continue testing through next week.  Plus, Tyson did its own testing of employees while the county health department is focused on testing at long-term health facilities.

Bogue says even though it appears cases are starting to fall.  Buena Vista County logged three more cases on Tuesday.  She says people still need to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In response to the outbreak, the Walmart in Storm Lake will be closed through Thursday morning. A third party will come in to sanitize the store.  Employees will also have their temperature checks and will wear masks and gloves.

After the interview with Siouxland Public Media News Buena Vista County confirmed outbreaks at two long-term care centers.

They posted a news release on social media saying the Iowa Department of Public Health and Buena Vista County Public Health and Home Care identified 3 cases of COVID-19 at Pleasant View Home in Albert City and 3 cases of COVID-19 at Good Samaritan Society-Newell.  

According to the state, an outbreak occurs when three or more cases of COVID-19 are identified among residents of a facility.

The facilities have notified residents and their families. Consistent with state guidelines, the affected residents are in isolation. 

Pleasant View Home staff and Good Samaritan Society staff are working closely with IDPH and Buena Vista County Public Health to protect the health of all residents and staff, with additional testing of residents and staff as directed by IDPH.