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The number of Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19, including those in need of intensive care and ventilators to help breathe, this week reached the highest level in nearly a year.
Hospitalizations in the state as a result of the coronavirus increased for the fourth week in a row, jumping to 721 from 623 last week, according to a report released Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health. That’s the highest seen since Dec. 17, 2020, when 746 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19.
The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care and on ventilators also is at the highest total since December 2020.
Virus patients in intensive care reached 172 this week, compared with 146 reported last week. Patients on ventilators totaled 91, a leap from the 67 reported last week.
Those not fully vaccinated accounted for 77.9 percent of COVID-19 patients in intensive care, a decrease from the 85.6 percent reported last week. Those not fully vaccinated account for 75.7 percent of all patients hospitalized because of COVID-19.
Iowans aged 17 and younger represented 2 percent of new hospital admissions, the same as last week. The 18-to-29 age group accounted for 9 percent of new admissions, an increase from 8.
The state reported 9,489 new COVID-19 cases this week, a decline after five weeks of increasing infections, according to the Iowa public health department. The state reported 10,643 new cases a week before.
Since the virus first appeared in March 2020, 529,383 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Iowa.
Those aged 17 and younger made up 18 percent of the positive tests statewide over the past seven days, a decline from last week’s 22 percent. That age group now tied with the 18-to-29 age group for top share of weekly positive tests.
The percentage of new cases by age group in the past week was:
- 18 to 29: 18 percent
- 30 to 39: 17 percent
- 40 to 49: 15 percent
- 50 to 59: 13 percent
- 60 to 69: 10 percent
- 70 to 79: 5 percent
- 80 and over: 3 percent
Linn County reported 722 new infections this week, compared with 727 last week. The positivity rate was 12.9 percent, an uptick from 11.8 percent last week.
Johnson County reported 369 new cases among it residents this week, a decline from the 533 reported last week. The positivity rate inched down to 9.7 percent, from 10.7 percent last week.
All 99 counties in Iowa have the highest level of community transmission of the novel coronavirus, according to a map and scale from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ninety-one new deaths from the virus were confirmed by the state health officials. That’s an increase from 86 confirmed last week.
Since the virus first was confirmed in Iowa in 2020, 7,445 individuals statewide have died as a result of COVID-19.
Of this past week’s confirmed deaths, 77 took place in November, 12 in October and two in September.
The weekly confirmed death toll by age groups:
- 18 to 40: five
- 41 to 60: 19
- 61 to 80: 46
- 80 and older: 21
Polk County reported the highest COVID-19 death toll with 10 deaths. It was followed by Linn County with six deaths, Woodbury County with five and Black Hawk County with four.
An additional 1,887 individuals became fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in Iowa in the past week — a significant decline in new vaccinations from previous week’s totals. On average, 8,700 individuals would complete the vaccine series per week in Iowa over the previous five weeks, ranging from 6,744 to 9,994, according to a Gazette analysis of state data.
In total, 1,756,098 individuals have been fully vaccinated in Iowa, though that total includes out-of-state residents who got their shots here. It represents about 53.6 percent of the state’s population.
In Linn County, an additional 118 individuals became fully vaccinated. That brings the total number of fully vaccinated residents to 135,412, which accounts for 63.69 percent of those aged 5 and older and 59.73 percent of the total county population.
Johnson County reported an additional 60 residents had completed a vaccine series, bringing the total number of fully vaccinated residents to 96,057. That’s 67.44 percent of the population aged 5 and older, and 63.55 percent of the county’s entire population.
As of Wednesday, 19 long-term care facilities in Iowa were reporting a coronavirus outbreak, which occurs when three or more COVID-19 cases are identified among staff and residents. That’s a decrease from the 27 facilities reporting an outbreak last week.
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John McGlothlen of The Gazette contributed to this report.