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COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities in Iowa are in the triple digits this week, while the number of new virus cases and hospitalizations are declining after a weekslong surge
This week, 109 long-term care facilities — about a quarter of Iowa’s 445 nursing homes — were reporting coronavirus outbreaks, according to weekly totals released Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health.
That’s nearly four times the 25 outbreaks — three or more cases among staff and residents — reported four weeks ago and is the highest total seen since Jan. 1, 2021.
Last week, 86 outbreaks were reported.
Iowa reported 22,730 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, with a seven-day positivity rate of 18.5 percent, a drop from the 24.1 percent positivity rate reported last week.
Last week, the state public health department reported 34,949 new cases. Two weeks ago, Iowa reported a record number of new cases in a single week: 38,574.
Since March 2020 when the pandemic arrived in Iowa, 722,589 cases of COVID-19 have been reported.
The number of new cases also continue to drop in Linn and Johnson counties.
Linn County reported 1,725 infections in the past week, compared to the 2,593 reported the previous week. The seven-day positivity rate dropped to 21.2 percent from 27.8 percent last week.
Johnson County added 1,449 new cases and had a seven-day positivity rate of 23.2 percent. Last week, the county added 2,079 cases for a positivity rate of 26.5 percent.
All 99 counties in Iowa remain in the “red zone” of maximum community transmission of the virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
After a weekslong surge that strained health care systems’ capacity and resources, COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the decline in Iowa.
As of Wednesday, patients hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped to 794 statewide from the 929 reported last week.
Two weeks ago, hospitalizations had reached 1,010 COVID-19 patients, the most seen since statewide since early December 2020.
The number of patients in intensive care and on ventilators also continued to decline.
This week, patients in intensive care totaled 109, down from 165 the week before. That’s the fewest patients in intensive care since Aug. 18, 2021.
The number of patients on ventilators decreased to 51 in the past week, compared to 77 the previous week.
Of the 794 individuals hospitalized because of COVID-19, 54.1 percent were not fully vaccinated, state public health officials say. Among those in intensive care, 70.6 percent of patients are not fully vaccinated.
The number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 dropped to 28 this week from 35 reported the previous week. Of those 28 children, only four were fully vaccinated — the same as last week.
Those aged 17 and younger represented 5 percent of new hospital admissions this week, the same as last week. Those in the 18 to 29 age group represent 5 percent of the admissions, compared to last week’s 9 percent.
Iowa confirmed 156 new deaths as a result of COVID-19, compared to the 186 reported last week. As of Wednesday, the coronavirus statewide death toll stands at 8,657.
Among this week’s confirmed death toll, the age groups were:
- 18 to 40 — 3
- 41 to 60 — 24
- 61 to 80 — 77
- 80 and older — 52
Linn County reported 11 additional deaths this week. In total, 524 residents have died as a result of the virus.
Johnson County reported five deaths this week, bringing the countywide death toll to 126.
Polk County added 29 COVID-19 deaths, the most in the state, inching Iowa’s most populated county closer to 1,000 deaths (977).
Another 7,612 Iowans completed the coronavirus vaccine series in the past week, bringing the total number of fully vaccinated residents to just over 1.8 million.
That’s 57.16 percent of the total state’s population and 60.94 percent of those aged 5 and older.
An additional 17,152 vaccinated residents received a booster dose, bringing the total number of fully vaccinated individuals with a booster shot to 956,461.
Linn County reported another 2,231 individuals completed the vaccine series, bringing the total number of immunized residents to 370,808. That’s 64.01 percent of the county’s total population and 68.26 percent of those aged 5 and older.
In Johnson County, an additional 1,468 individuals became fully vaccinated as of Wednesday. In total, 269,667 residents have completed the vaccine series — or 68.48 percent of the county’s population and 72.66 percent of those aged 5 and older.
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John McGlothlen of The Gazette contributed to this report.