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Iowa tops 26,000 cases but outbreak may be slowing

Photo by Perry Beeman Beachgoers at Raccoon River Park in West Des Moines on June 2. Iowans have returned to many activities as the pandemic continues.

Iowa has topped 26,000 cases of COVID-19, but by some measures the outbreak is slowing even as the state reopens more businesses and activities.

Since the pandemic started, 26,050 Iowans have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported. Of those, 16,096 had recovered as of 9 a.m. Monday.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 10.1 percent of Iowans tested had COVID-19, as of Monday morning. In June, that percentage has been mostly between 5 percent and 7 percent. Hospitalizations are steadily declining, and stood at 169 Monday morning. Nearly half the state’s intensive care unit beds are available, as are more than 800 ventilators.

Johns Hopkins University’s graph of Iowa’s cumulative cases continues to show a steady upswing in the overall number of cases.

However, the school’s graph of Iowa’s rolling three-day average number of new, confirmed cases shows a downward trend in Iowa.

A different graph by the New York Times shows Iowa’s case count trend as “falling” or “flat” in recent weeks.

National Geographic reported Iowa was among the four states with the largest decreases in weekly case totals, along with the District of Columbia. Iowa ranked 24th in total cases, but 12th in cases per 10,000. The state’s 2.7 percent death rate ranked 38th.

Through Saturday, Buena Vista County, where Tyson had a major outbreak, was among the state’s hottest COVID spots with 813.9 cases per 10,000 people, National Geographic reported. Crawford and Louisa counties topped 300 cases per 10,000 in population.

In June, the number of added COVID-19 cases each day has ranged from 118 on June 6 to 417 on June 19. The number of new cases topped 300 eight times this month, through Sunday.

The total for Sunday was 346, the state reported.

On all but one day since the state recorded 777 new cases on May 26, the daily total has been under 400.

Number of deaths per day evens out

The number of daily deaths from COVID-19 has been under 10 since June 3, the state reported. Most recently, the state recorded one each on Saturday and Sunday. The state had recorded 686 COVID-related deaths through Monday morning, with 167 in Polk County and 80 in Linn County. Black Hawk County recorded 56, and Woodbury, 42, after both had outbreaks at meat plants.

Long-term care centers have accounted for 356 of Iowa’s coronavirus deaths, along with 905 of the cases. There are 31 current outbreaks at nursing homes and similar facilities.

The Johns Hopkins graph of deaths in Iowa shows the number steadier in recent days.

The number of Iowans tested per day has also flattened in June, according to the state health department, running in the neighborhood of 5,000 to 6,000 a day. The number had increased sharply since 885 were tested on April 21. That’s in part due to the addition of the Test Iowa program.

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