The number of staff and students affected by an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Boys State Training School in Eldora has continued to expand this week, spreading to 22 on Wednesday.
According to information from the Iowa Department of Human Services, the first positive test at the facility was in a staff member on July 20. Additional positive staff tests followed, and the first student tested positive for COVID-19 on July 23. On Monday, DHS reported that five staff members and 12 students had tested positive, and on Wednesday those numbers were updated to eight staff and 14 students.
The state has temporarily suspended admission to the school “to ensure we are able to separate positive students to prevent further spread,” a DHS facilities response summary states. While the number of students at the school usually fluctuates, DHS spokesman Matt Highland said it’s been at 70 for about six months, which means 20 percent of the student population is infected with COVID-19.
The state was reporting on Thursday morning that Hardin County has recorded 149 cumulative COVID-19 cases since testing began in March. That reflects an increase of 10 cases since Monday this week. At least 73 of those 149 cumulative cases have recovered, which means 76 Hardin County residents are still infected.
It is possible that State Training School students and staff who have tested positive are included in the county's case total. Hardin County Public Health Coordinator Rock Reents said this week that anyone whose residence is listed as Hardin County is included as a Hardin County case.
Reents told the county Board of Supervisors on Wednesday that the state is planning to roll out a new coronavirus website in the next two to four weeks. It will reportedly include COVID-19 infection numbers by zip code.
Statewide, 854 Iowans have died of COVID-19. Hardin County is one of 27 counties in Iowa that have recorded no deaths of residents from coronavirus.
As of Tuesday, three Hardin County residents were hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19. Highland said no one from the Boys State Training School – students or staff – have been hospitalized because of coronavirus.
DHS is reporting that 431 COVID-19 tests have been conducted at the State Training School. Total test counts reflect multiple tests for some individuals.
According to the state's coronavirus website, 2,415 Hardin County residents have been tested for COVID-19, although it is unclear whether that number includes multiple tests for some individuals.