116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The number of new COVID-19 cases in Iowa has nearly tripled in the past three weeks, and Linn and Johnson counties are once more considered to be “high transmission” counties by federal health authorities.
The state on Wednesday reported 3,172 new coronavirus cases in the past seven days, compared to the 1,063 new cases reported in a seven-day period three weeks ago.
This week’s total is up from the 2,114 new cases reported last week and the 1,716 cases reported the week before, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Six weeks ago, Iowa reported 478 new COVID-19 cases in a seven-day period.
The upturn is because of the highly contagious omicron subvariant, BA.2, which has become the dominant coronavirus strain in the Midwest and the rest of the country.
In total, Iowa has reported 768,358 cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began two years ago.
For the third week in a row, Johnson County had the highest seven-day positivity rate in the state — 375 positive tests per 100,000 residents this week compared to the 304 positive tests per 100,000 residents last week.
Johnson County reported 502 new COVID-19 cases in the past week, up from 367 cases last week, and the highest weekly total since the 735 cases reported Feb. 9.
In total, Johnson County has reported 35,541 cases since March 2020.
The positivity rate for Linn County was 169 per 100,000 residents.
The county reported 350 new cases this week, up from the 258 reported last week and the 215 cases reported two weeks ago.
Linn County has reported 53,125 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began two years ago.
As of May 9, seven counties in Iowa — including Linn and Johnson counties — were classified as “high” transmission areas for COVID-19 community transmission levels, as measured by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The other high-transmission counties are Cedar, Black Hawk, Dubuque, Howard and Mitchell.
The CDC rated the vast majority of Iowa’s 99 counties as having “substantial” or “moderate” transmission levels. Twenty-two counties were categorized as having “low” COVID-19 transmission.
On Wednesday, 124 individuals were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Iowa. That compares to 86 last week, according to federal health officials.
That’s also nearly double the 63 infected patients reported three weeks ago.
Hospitalization totals, however, still remain far below the 991 patients hospitalized the week of Jan. 19 at the height of the omicron surge.
The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care has increased for the fourth week in a row, reaching 13 as of Wednesday. That compares to nine patients last week.
Four weeks ago, there were just two intensive care patients with COVID-19 in Iowa, an all-time low throughout the two-year pandemic.
The state public health department on Wednesday confirmed another 21 deaths in Iowa as a result of the coronavirus, up from the four deaths reported last week.
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, 9,554 Iowans have died as a result of COVID-19.
Linn County reported two coronavirus-related deaths in the past week, bringing the COVID-19 death toll to 583.
Johnson County reported one COVID-19 death in the past seven days. To date, 153 residents have died of the coronavirus.
The number of fully vaccinated Iowans and non-Iowans reached 1,922,920 as of Wednesday, which includes 2,320 individuals who completed the vaccine series in the past seven days.
With this week’s additional shots, 62 percent of the state’s total population and 66.1 percent of Iowans aged 5 and older are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Another 3,517 individuals received their booster shot in the past week, bringing the total number of fully vaccinated and boosted individuals in Iowa to 1,034,082 as of Wednesday.
Johnson County remains the only county in Iowa that has topped the 70 percent vaccine threshold. As of Wednesday, 72.7 percent of the total county population and 77.2 percent of those aged 5 and older were fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Linn County reported 66.8 percent of the total county population and 71.2 percent of residents aged 5 and older were fully vaccinated as of this week, per the CDC.
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John McGlothlen of The Gazette contributed to this report.