Black Hawk County health officials are fighting another battle in their effort to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Outbreaks among residents and staff at three long-term care facilities in Waterloo and Cedar Falls have accounted for nearly 90 cases of COVID-19 in the county and multiple deaths.

Cases of the coronavirus spiked in Black Hawk County in recent weeks after an outbreak at the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Waterloo. As of Tuesday, 30 Black Hawk County residents have died of COVID-19.

Sheriff Tony Thompson had lobbied Tyson and Gov. Kim Reynolds to close the plant before the outbreak. Thompson said Monday the initial plan to fight the pandemic "went to hell when Tyson failed to hold their line". Now, local health officials are trying to protect those most-vulnerable to the virus -- the elderly.

"It breaks my heart and it infuriates me to know that as we fall back to deal with the fallout of the failures of corporate greed and governmental ignorance, that more and more citizens fall victim to this virus as a result," Thompson said. "The victims who are experiencing these tragedies have social distanced from the very beginning. They were locked down from the moment we started. They did not travel outside the nursing home. They did not do anything to deserve the suffering that they're now enduring."

Lisa Gates, the CEO of Friendship Village Retirement Community in Waterloo, announced on Facebook Monday night that 16 residents and 20 employees have tested positive at the Pavilion and seven residents there have died of COVID-19. Testing at the Landing is scheduled to begin sometime this week.

The most-serious coronavirus outbreak involving local long-term care centers is at the Harmony House in Waterloo, where state health officials have reported 62 cases. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, there are also 11 positive cases at NewAldaya Lifescapes in Cedar Falls.

Black Hawk County health officials said Monday they are monitoring three other local long-term care facilities for potential outbreaks.

As of Tuesday, Black Hawk County had 1,768 positive cases of COVID-19. The number of new cases were just seven more than the figure reported on Monday. The number of deaths rose by one.

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