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Iowa COVID deaths continue to mount

Iowa’s rate of new coronavirus-related hospitalizations has flattened, but the number of deaths related to COVID-19 has risen by 35 percent in two weeks, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

The Times reported 1,162 people were hospitalized in Iowa with COVID-19 on Monday, when 27 deaths were reported. The Times listed Iowa fourth in a tally of states where the death rate is rising on a per-capita basis.

Iowa reported 1,944 new cases on Monday, well under the 2,263 average for the past week, the newspaper reported. The Times listed Iowa ninth among states that have had high numbers of new cases but are seeing the number drop now.

Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday told reporters that while the death rate, hospitalizations and outbreaks at nursing homes remain concerns, the state has shown progress in reducing the spread of the respiratory illness. She urged Iowans to continue to wear masks and take other precautions, and she said she would have news regarding schools on Thursday.

“Last week, we saw our most significant progress in weeks,” Reynolds said at the Tuesday news conference. “More than 14,200 new cases were reported, about half of the previous week’s total. The (test) positivity rate was at 15 percent, a (six percentage point) drop.”

Iowa’s new cases have fallen 47 percent in two weeks, the Times reported. The state now has reported 230,902 cases since the pandemic started, with 2,427 deaths.

The state reported 1,172 were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Iowa Tuesday, up from 1,160 the day before. That number peaked at 1,510 last month, the governor reported.

The number of COVID patients in intensive care rose to 235 on Tuesday from 224 on Monday. Slightly fewer had been admitted to hospitals in the past 24 hours, 129 at midday Tuesday versus 138 the previous 24-hour period.

The Iowa Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 162 outbreaks at nursing homes. The facilities have reported 4,899 cases since the pandemic began, with 1,069 deaths of residents and staff.

Among the facilities with the most cases since the pandemic started are Heritage Specialty Care in Cedar Rapids with 115 cases and Bishop Drumm Retirement Center in Johnston with 102.

Among the state’s universities, the University of Iowa has reported 2,749 cases since the pandemic began, and Iowa State University 2,169, the state reported.

All but 15 Iowa counties have test positivity rates of 15 percent or higher, a threshold the state has used in its analysis of school districts’ applications to hold classes online instead of in person. Lyon County reported the highest positively rate at 29.2 percent.

Nationally, 13.6 million cases have been reported, with daily cases up 3 percent in the past two weeks, the Times reported. The number of daily deaths has jumped 28 percent in that same period, and stands at 268,626 for the entire pandemic. The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals nationally rose 34 percent in the past two weeks.

Iowa COVID hospitalizations slow, deaths continue to mount

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