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Weekly COVID-19 cases in Iowa reaches highest ever seen in pandemic
State reaches 38,574 weekly cases, surpassing the record
Iowa now has reached the highest number of new weekly COVID-19 infections ever seen throughout the last 22 months since the pandemic hit the state.
The highly contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus has spread rapidly across the state, resulting in spikes in positivity rates and causing Linn and Johnson counties in this area to break the records for highest seven-day sums for infections more than once already this month.
On Wednesday, Iowa reported 38,574 new COVID-19 cases in the past week — an average of 5,511 cases per day. The record total, released by the Iowa Department of Public Health, is worse than the previous weekly record of 31,898 on Nov. 15, 2020.
With it, statewide coronavirus positivity rates continued to increase, reaching 26.2 percent over the past seven days. Last week, it was 23.8 percent.
Johnson County broke the record for new weekly infections for the third week in a row. The county reported 2,364 new cases Wednesday, compared with 2,308 cases last week and 1,612 the week before. Johnson County’s seven-day positivity rate was 26.5 percent, though, a decrease from the 28.8 percent the week before.
Linn County also broke the record for new infections in a seven-day period this week. The county reported 3,078 new COVID-19 cases this week, compared with the 2,884 last week. The seven-day positivity rate in Linn County also dipped slightly this week, falling to 27.6 percent from 28.6 percent last week.
All 99 counties in Iowa remain in the “red zone,” the maximum level of community transmission of the virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Long-term care outbreaks
With the novel coronavirus continuing its rapid spread across the state, the number of long-term care facilities in Iowa reporting COVID-19 outbreaks has more than doubled in the past two weeks, the state public health data shows.
Reported outbreaks of the virus increased for the fifth week in a row Wednesday, reaching 63 facilities statewide experiencing three or more cases of COVID-19 among staff and residents, according to Iowa Department of Public Health coronavirus data.
Last week, 41 outbreaks were reported, compared with 25 reported two weeks ago. Five weeks ago, there were 16 outbreaks at these facilities, which includes nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities and assisted living quarters.
This week’s total is the highest seen since Jan. 25, 2021, when 68 outbreaks were reported statewide.
Patients admitted to Iowa hospitals because of COVID-19 reached 991, an increase from the 923 admissions last week. On Monday, hospitalizations had reached 1,010, the most seen since the 1,124 COVID-19 patients seen across the state on Dec. 3, 2020.
The number of patients in intensive care reached 182 Wednesday, an increase from the 178 the week before. Patients on ventilators also increased to 95 from 85 the week before.
As of this week, there are 32 children under the age of 18 hospitalized because of COVID-19, including six who are fully vaccinated. This past week, there were 22 children, including two who were fully vaccinated.
The 17 and under age group represented 6 percent of new hospital admissions this week, and the 18-29 age group represented 13 percent.
Those not fully vaccinated account for 64 percent of all patients hospitalized because of COVID-19 in Iowa. Among those COVID-19 patients in intensive care, 72 percent are not fully vaccinated.
The state public health department confirmed 116 additional deaths in the past week, compared with 182 reported the week before. The statewide COVID-19 death toll now stands at 8,201.
Of the fatalities reported this week, state data shows:
- 18 to 40 — three deaths
- 41 to 60 — 22 deaths
- 61 to 80 — 60 deaths
- 80 and older — 31 deaths
Linn County reported 14 confirmed deaths this week. Polk County reported the highest death toll of any county, at 18 fatalities. Johnson County reported one COVID-19 death in the past week.
As of Wednesday, with an addition 10,021 individuals completing the coronavirus vaccine series, there are now 1,788,476 fully vaccinated Iowans. That makes up 56.69 percent of the entire state population, and 60.43 percent of Iowans aged 5 and older.
The number of fully vaccinated Iowans who also got a booster dose reached 916,492, an increase of 31,949 in the past week.
In Linn County, an additional 645 residents completed the vaccine series. That brings the total number of vaccinated residents to 143,943, which is 63.49 percent of the total county population and 67.70 percent of those aged 5 and older.
An additional 316 Johnson County residents became fully immunized in the past week. That brings the total number of vaccinated residents to 102,887, or 68.07 percent of the total county population and 72.23 percent of those aged 5 and older.
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John McGlothlen of The Gazette contributed to this report.