This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Community spread of COVID-19 continued in Hardin County last week, infecting 47 people and causing two additional deaths.

The disease has been spreading rapidly in Hardin County this month. In the three weeks since Oct. 5, the county has recorded 147 new cases, and last week, the White House Coronavirus Task Force report put the county in the "red zone", a designation that's reserved for counties and states that have 101 or more new cases per 100,000 residents in a one-week time period. 

Of Hardin County's cumulative 475 COVID-19 cases since March, at least 304 are classified as having recovered. Seven Hardin County residents have died. That means at least 164 people are currently infected with the disease. As of Oct. 24, three Hardin County residents were hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19.

Contributing to the county's case count is an outbreak at Hubbard Care Center. The state’s coronavirus website first reported the outbreak on Oct. 12, with 18 cases. On Monday this week, the website was reporting a total of 57 cases. Two of those people have recovered. Hubbard Care Center Administrator Angie Kuda-Bruns has declined to comment on the outbreak. It is unclear how many of the 57 cases are residents and how many are staff.

Last week, Grand JiVanté in Ackley reported that one of its staff members had been diagnosed with COVID-19 during routine testing. No additional cases have been reported by the facility or by the state. The Iowa Department of Public Health does not report outbreaks at long term care facilities until three residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Scenic Living Communities reported several positive tests among staff and residents of its assisted living facility in June. Those cases were not reported by the state because it only reports on cases in nursing homes – not assisted living facilities.

Area school districts have been reporting new COVID-19 cases on a weekly basis. The reports, issued on Fridays, do not distinguish whether the cases are in students or staff. According to the Oct. 23 reports new cases the week of Oct. 19 were as follows:

  • Iowa Falls-Alden: 2
  • South Hardin: 0
  • AGWSR: 6

Ellsworth Community College, which issues weekly COVID-19 updates on Mondays, reported 11 new student cases for the week that began Oct. 19. It is the third consecutive week that the college has reported double-digit case numbers, bringing the total number of cases to 59 since students returned to campus in August.

ZIP Code map updated

COVID by ZIP Code - 10/23/2020

An updated COVID-19 infection map, split by ZIP code, shows cumulative totals for infection in Hardin County by ZIP code. The map was released by Greenbelt Home Care/Hardin County Public Health on Friday, Oct. 23.

On Friday, Greenbelt Home Care/Hardin County Public Health released an updated map showing the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in each of the nine ZIP codes in Hardin County. At the time of the report, Hardin County had reported a total of 454 cases, but the map shows 445 cases. The numbers on the map and the total number of cases in the county have never matched, and the state has not answered questions about the discrepancy.

According to the map, the Hubbard ZIP code (50122), which is home to about 7 percent of the county's population, has almost 14 percent of the county's total COVID cases. That ZIP code saw the largest case increase between Oct. 16 and 23, adding 12 cases.

The Iowa Falls area ZIP code (50126) still has the highest percent of the county's total cases at nearly 32 percent, but it is home to about 36 percent of the county's total residents.

Find more information about COVID-19 in Hardin County and Iowa on the state's coronavirus website.

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