CORONAVIRUS

Another milestone: Iowa coronavirus cases top 200,000

Governor says she's aiming to bring more health care workers to Iowa

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to the media during a COVID-19 news conference Thursday at Iowa PBS in Johnston. The gover
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to the media during a COVID-19 news conference Thursday at Iowa PBS in Johnston. The governor said Friday she will announce an initiative next week to bring more health care workers to Iowa. (Kelsey Kremer /The Des Moines Register via AP)

Iowa passed another grim milestone Friday, with the reporting of more than 200,000 COVID-19 cases in the state since March.

Also on Friday, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said she will announce an initiative next week to recruit more nurses and other critical health care workers to come to Iowa.

Iowa at 11 a.m. Friday reported 4,346 new COVID-19 cases in the previous 24 hours, with a positivity rate of 40.40 percent.

It was the 17th day in a row the state’s positivity rate has been 40 percent or above, according to Iowa Department of Public Health data analyzed by The Gazette.

The new cases brought the state’s total COVID-19 cases to 203,033 since March. Its seven-day average of new cases is 3,940,

GovERNOR watching hospitalizations

Reynolds indicated during a Friday radio interview she is watching Iowa’s hospitalization numbers every day.

Iowa, she said, has been moving “dangerously close” to overwhelming its health care capacity due to the pandemic.

She said that concern prompted her to take targeted action this week — with limited mask mandates — to stave off the possibility of hospital and health care capacity being “pushed to the brink.”

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She said there are no plans to set up field hospitals in Iowa if the health care system becomes overwhelmed because the state does not have adequate resources to staff them.

In the meantime, she asked Iowans to observe her mask requirements for indoor gatherings and to follow public health social distancing, hand-washing and other mitigation recommendations to slow the coronavirus spread in Iowa.

“I need everybody to help me step up and step in,” Reynolds said. “I’m trying to be fair, and I’m trying to be balanced. I’m trying to keep businesses open.”

Long-term care facilities

The state on Friday also announced new outbreaks — three or more cases — at 21 more long-term care facilities. Outbreaks are now reported at 117 such facilities in Iowa.

Reynolds said the state will begin publicly reporting data on its coronavirus website that shows the number of new virus cases over the past 14 days at long-term care facilities.

The Hiawatha Care Center reported five new cases Friday, bringing the total there to 102 cases.

Willow Gardens Care Center in Marion now has 65 COVID-19 cases.

Deaths

The state on Friday reported 25 COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing Iowa’s total death toll to 2,127.

Deaths were reported in 21 counties, with four counties — Allamakee, Jasper, Polk and Scott — reporting two deaths each.

Counties reporting one death each were Adair, Appanoose, Benton, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Cerro Gordo, Delaware, Dubuque, Floyd, Hamilton, Hancock, Ida, Jones, Muscatine, Pottawattamie, Woodbury and Wright.

County totals

Linn County on Friday reported 190 new cases, with a positivity rate of 24.8 percent. The county has a seven-day average of new cases of 276 and has reported 12,664 cases since March.

Johnson County reported 130 new cases, with a positivity rate of 24.48 percent. It’s seven-day average is 123, with 8,753 cases since March.

Jones County reported 46 new cases, with a seven-day average of 55.

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Story County reported 120 cases, with a positivity rate of 30.38 percent. The seven-day average is 105, with 6,049 cases since March.

Black Hawk County reported 288 new cases — its second-highest daily total — with a positivity rate of 45 percent. The county’s seven-day average of new cases is 188, with 9,912 cases since March.

Csps closing

In Cedar Rapids, CSPS announced Friday it is again closing the entertainment venue, citing “rising case numbers” for COVID-19 in Linn County. It said in an email that its galleries and exhibits are available for viewing online at cspshall.org.

Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

The Gazette’s Katie Brumbeloe and Rod Boshart contributed.

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