Reporting Infection Outbreaks in Long-Term Care Settings

Many providers are experiencing outbreaks of various infections throughout the State and have reached out to LeadingAge Iowa for clarification on what is reportable and where to report it to. Here is an overview of the reporting requirements for COVID and other respiratory illnesses:


Nursing homes still have the obligation to report weekly to NHSN. This weekly reporting includes vaccination data and elements within the LTCF Module.

Influenza, COVID, & Other Respiratory Virus Outbreaks

In addition to weekly reporting to NHSN, Iowa HHS reminds providers of the obligation to report outbreaks including influenza, COVID, and other respiratory viruses. Outbreaks are defined as:

  • Influenza – one laboratory confirmed influenza positive resident along with other residents having respiratory illness symptoms in a unit within a 72-hour period.
  • COVID-19 – three or more COVID-19 positive residents occurring within a 14-day period.
  • Other Respiratory Viruses – one laboratory-confirmed positive resident along with others having respiratory illness symptoms in a unit within a 72-hour period.

Nursing homes should submit a redcap report when the above criteria is met. After submitting the report, a public health official will contact you within one business day to offer technical assistance. If you would like technical assistance before the next business day, please call the 24/7 hotline at 1-800-362-2736.

Other long-term care providers such as AL, RCF, or ICF should call the disease reporting hotline at 1-800-362-2736 during normal business hours or call your local public health department to report outbreaks. 

Other Infectious Disease Outbreaks:

The Iowa HHS Center for Acute Disease and Epidemiology has a list of reportable communicable diseases and infectious conditions posted on their website. This website states that outbreaks of any kind should be reported immediately. This includes diseases that occur in unusual numbers or circumstances, unusual syndromes, or uncommon diseases and may be infectious, environmental, or occupational in origin and include food-borne outbreaks or illness secondary to chemical exposure. Providers should use the 24/7 disease reporting hotline at 1-800-362-2736.


The Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) team at Iowa HHS also has regional nurse clinicians that are available for consultation. This consultation is not regulatory or punitive and is always free of charge. You can contact the HAI team at [email protected].