Iowa COVID-19 cases hold steady; hospitalizations rise
State health officials reported 900 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday for the past week — a slight decrease from the previous week’s numbers — but hospitalizations doubled.
There were 68 people infected by the coronavirus receiving inpatient treatment at Iowa hospitals that day, according to U.S. Health and Human Services data. That’s an increase from 33 a week ago.
Those who are under intensive hospital care also increased slightly from six to seven.
As infection rates increase in Northeastern states, Iowa’s rate remains near its lowest for the pandemic. Three months ago, Iowa was recording more than 5,000 cases per day and hospitalizations briefly eclipsed 1,000.
Still, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late last week the level of community transmission in Guthrie County was medium and Greene County was high — a ranking that triggers the recommendation that people wear masks indoors in public places. Those rankings are based on a combination of infection and hospitalization rates, and the rest of the state’s counties were classified as low community transmission.
In the past week, Greene County had six positive tests, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. No data was immediately available for Guthrie County.
The state also reported 21 new deaths on Wednesday among people infected by the virus, but it was unclear when they occurred. COVID-related death reports are often delayed by weeks. A total of 9,475 people have died in Iowa after being infected.
Also on Wednesday, the CDC announced it would extend a mask mandate for planes and other public transportation until May 3, the New York Times reported. The requirement was set to expire early next week, but federal health officials are concerned about the rise of the omicron BA.2 subvariant, which is believed responsible for the vast majority of new infections.