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Iowa COVID hospitalizations top 1,000 amid high virus spread

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Hospitalizations of people being treated for coronavirus infections in Iowa surpassed 1,000 this week as COVID-19 cases grow at the fastest rate since the beginning of the pandemic nearly two years ago.

State data updated Wednesday shows Iowa surpassed 1,000 hospitalizations on Monday and then dipped lower to 991 with 182 patients in intensive care. The state reported 19 children age 11 or younger in hospitals and 13 aged 12 to 17. Most were unvaccinated.

Iowa’s seven-day moving average of daily cases was 5,440 on Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. That is the highest rate ever, surpassing the previous high of 4,622 in November 2020.

The state Wednesday reported 8,317 deaths, which is 116 more than reported on Monday.

National Center for Health Statistics data shows 208 people have died with COVID-19 in Iowa since Jan. 1, an average of 11 a day.

According to CDC data, 34% of Iowa’s population has not received at least one dose of vaccine. Iowa is ranked 24th for vaccinations, with 59.7% of the population fully vaccinated.

At least five people working at the Iowa Capitol have tested positive for COVID-19, two in the Iowa House, two in the Iowa Senate and one employee of the Legislative Services Agency.

Republican leaders who control Capitol operation have opted against safety measures for the session that began Jan. 10. Masks and vaccinations are not required and those testing positive are not required to report it.

Iowa Speaker Pat Grassley’s spokeswoman Melissa Deatsch noted that committees, subcommittees and floor debate are live streamed, in part to accommodate concerns among legislators and staff.