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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
It took Iowa 40 days to surpass 70 COVID-19 deaths at the start of the pandemic. On Thursday, the state reported 70 deaths in 24 hours.
The state's previous record was 47 deaths on Nov. 25.
The record comes a few days into December, a few days after Iowa experienced its deadliest COVID-19 month in November, when 668 Iowans died due to the virus, according to data analyzed by The Gazette.
The deaths reported Thursday bring the state's death toll to 2,519.
Of Thursday's new deaths, 35 were of individuals over age 80, 26 were among those 61 to 80, eight were among those 41 to 60 and one was an individual between 18 and 40.
Forty-one of Iowa's 99 counties reported at least one death Thursday.
Mitchell County, in north-central Iowa, reported four deaths. Counties reporting three deaths each were Hamilton, Louisa, Sioux, Webster and Woodbury.
Counties reporting two deaths were Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Carroll, Dallas, Emmet, Fayette, Floyd, Harrison, Jasper, Linn, Monona, Muscatine, Plymouth, Polk and Scott.
Counties reporting one death were Adair, Appanoose, Boone, Cerro Gordo, Clayton, Dubuque, Hancock, Hardin, Ida, Jackson, Kossuth, Lyon, Mahaska, Marshall, Mills, O'Brien, Story, Tama and Winnebago.
Iowa on Thursday also reported 2,877 new COVID-19 cases, with a 41.14 percent positivity rate.
Linn County added 147 new virus cases for a county total of 14,691 and a seven-day average of 121.
Johnson County saw 76 new cases, bringing its total to 9,814. The county's seven-day average is 66.
Among Iowa's new cases, 353 were of individuals age 17 and younger.
Hospitalizations in the state continued to drop.
As of 11 a.m. Thursday, hospitalizations declined from Wednesday's 1,162 to Thursday's 1,124. The number of patients in intensive care ticked down from 226 to 224, and the number of patients on ventilators remained at 131.
Also on Thursday, 170 of Iowa's long-term care facilities reported virus outbreaks, an increase of seven in the 24-hour period. The new number means 39 percent of the state's long-term care facilities are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks of three or more cases.
Within those facilities, 5,405 individuals have a COVID-19 diagnosis, an increase of 280 in 24 hours.
In total, 1,097 of Iowa's deaths have been residents of long-term care facilities, including 22 reported Thursday.
Among the facilities reporting outbreaks are six in Linn County - the Hiawatha Care Center, West Ridge Care Center, The Gardens of Cedar Rapids, Meth-Wick Health Center, Willow Gardens Care Center and Terrace Glen Village.
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John McGlothlen of The Gazette contributed to this report.