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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
More Iowans tested positive for COVID-19 in a 24-hour period ending Wednesday than in any similar period since the start of the pandemic - marking five consecutive days the state has counted over 4,000 new daily cases.
According to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health, the state added 4,754 new cases between 11 a.m. Tuesday and 11 a.m. Wednesday, the highest daily total recorded since the virus made its appearance in Iowa back in March. The previous high was 4,706, which was recorded Nov. 4.
Hospitalizations also reached a new high in the 24-hour period with 1,190 patients - up from 1,135 - being treated for the virus. Of those hospitalized, 210 patients are in intensive care units - the first time Iowa has seen over 200 patients in ICU care. Of the patients, 101 require ventilators to help breathe, a jump from 89 a day earlier.
The latest report on Iowa from the White House Coronavirus Task Force decried an 'unyielding” spread of the virus across Iowa that needs 'immediate action.” It pointed out that Iowa's per capita rate of new cases - 621 per 100,000 people - is far higher than the national average of 209 new cases per 100,000 people.
Two days after that Sunday report, Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered new requirements Tuesday for masks and gatherings that are looser than what the task force said are needed in Iowa.
The governor said that masks must be worn at any indoor gathering over 25 people and at any outdoor gathering of over 100 people.
The state's total number of cases now has reached 166,021, with 92 of Iowa's 99 counties reporting 14-day positivity rates of over 15 percent, according to the state's calculations.
Of the 9,900 test results recorded in the period, 5,146 were negative or inconclusive, bringing the state's 24-hour positivity rate to 48.02 percent.
Linn County added 433 new cases - the second highest daily total behind the 520 cases recorded Sunday. The county's seven-day average if new cases is 405 - setting a record for the 20th straight day - and its 24-hour positivity rate is 41.28 percent.
Johnson County added 188 cases as of 11 a.m. Wednesday. The county's seven-day average is 166 new cases and its 24-hour positivity rate is 36.43 percent.
Jones County, which the state lists as having the highest 14-day average positivity rate in Iowa at 44.5 percent, added 48 cases in the period. The county's 24-hour positivity rate was an astounding 90.57 percent.
Of the new case numbers in Iowa, 482 were among school-age children up to age 17, bringing the total number of children who have been infected to 15,426.
In addition, 60 of the new cases were reported among individuals who identified in the education occupation category, bringing the total number of infected in that category to 7,405.
Twenty-five new confirmed deaths in 20 counties also were recorded by Wednesday morning, bringing the state's death toll to 1,898.
Clinton, Dallas, Jones, Scott and Woodbury counties each reported two deaths. Benton, Buchanan, Cass, Dubuque, Johnson, Keokuk, Linn, Marion, Marshall, Mills, Montgomery, Muscatine, O'Brien, Polk and Winnebago counties reported one death each.
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John McGlothlen of The Gazette contributed to this report.