CORONAVIRUS

COVID-19 cases in Iowa surpass 250,000, 99 additional deaths also reported

Medical staff direct people lined up for the novel coronavirus Covid-19 test at the Test Iowa site, 5755 Willow Creek Dr
Medical staff direct people lined up for the novel coronavirus Covid-19 test at the Test Iowa site, 5755 Willow Creek Dr. SW, in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. The site provides protection from winter weather for medical staff and testing subjects. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

More than 250,000 Iowans have been infected with coronavirus since the virus first reared its ugly head in Iowa on March 8, according to the latest data from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The new grim milestone comes on the heels of Gov. Kim Reynolds decision Wednesday to extend the latest COVID-19 proclamation until Dec. 16.

The proclamation, which was issued last month, included an order that all Iowans must wear a face mask or other face covering while indoors in public and within 6 feet to others for 15 minutes, as well as the provision that requires bars, restaurants and other venues serving alcohol to close at 10 p.m.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, the state added 2,245 new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases reported in Iowa to 251,027. The remaining 3,925 of the 6,170 test results recorded in the past 24 hours came back negative or inconclusive.

Of those 2,245 new cases, 265 were among Children 17 and younger, bringing the total number of children that have been infected with COVID-19 to 25,376.

The state also removed two cases from the education workers category, bringing that total down to 7,636. No explanation has been offered for the subtractions.

Sixty-three counties in Iowa currently have 14-day positivity rates above 15 percent.

Locally, Linn County added 76 cases bringing its total number of positive COVID-19 cases to 15,279, while Johnson County added 84 cases bringing its total to 10,210.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Iowa also reported an additional 99 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in 51 counties in the past 24 hours from 11 a.m. Wednesday to 11 a.m. Thursday, the second-highest number of confirmed deaths recorded in a 24-hour period since the state rolled out a new counting method Tuesday.

Under the old system, the state recorded a COVID-19 death when a positive test result in the state system matched up with a death certificate. Additionally, under the old system, if an individual’s death was deemed COVID-19-related by a physician but the deceased did not have a positive test on file, the state did not record that as a COVID-19-related death.

Under the new system, only the COVID-19 cause-of-death coding, which is based on the death record completed by the health care provider, is required for the state to recognize it as a virus-related death. A matching positive test is no longer required.

Black Hawk County reported nine deaths, Woodbury County recorded eight deaths, Scott County reported five deaths and Dubuque and Linn counties each reported four.

The counties that reported tree deaths each were Butler, Cherokee, Johnson, Monona and Webster.

The counties that each reported two deaths were Bremer, Clayton, Greene, Grundy, Humboldt, Jackson, Jefferson, Madison, Mills, Page, Polk, Story and Warren.

The counties that each reported one death were Benton, Cedar, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Des Moines, Dickinson, Fayette, Harrison, Henry, Ida, Iowa, Jones, Lee, Marion, Marshall, Muscatine, O’Brien, Pocahontas, Pottawattamie, Poweshiek, Ringgold, Wapello, Washington, Winneshiek and Worth.

Of those deaths, 48 were among adults older than 80 and 41 were among individuals between the ages of 60 and 80. Seven more deaths were recorded among adults ages 41 to 60 and three involved individuals between the ages of 18 and 40.

COVID-19-related hospitalizations across the state of Iowa dropped from 894 to 863 in the past 24 hours. Patients being treated in Iowa’s intensive care units also dropped from 196 to 189 and the number of individuals that have been placed on ventilators to help the breathe dipped from 120 to 114.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

There are currently 142 COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities across the state, which includes 5,752 active positive cases and 1,129 COVID-19 related deaths.

In Linn County, The Gardens of Cedar Rapids saw added two additional positive cases — from 15 to 17 — West Ridge Care Center added one case — from 37 to 38 — and Willow Gardens Care Center held steady at 72 cases.

University of Iowa Health Care said Wednesday that it expects to start administering doses of the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccine to its front-line workers and campus leaders as soon as next week.

In that health care workers are among the Americans prioritized to receive the first vaccine doses — but initial supplies are going to be limited — UIHC has broken its 18,000-some employees into four groups for vaccine prioritization, UI Hospitals and Clinics Chief Executive Officer Suresh Gunasekaran told reporters Wednesday.

The first group of about 1,500 to 2,000 employees includes physicians, midlevel providers, nurses, therapists, housekeepers and others who are most directly involved in patient care.

The second group covers those supporting patient care on the main campus, while the third group involves workers supporting patient care off-site and at clinics.

The fourth group includes all other UIHC staff involved in supporting health care delivery — but who are not on the front lines.

UIHC leaders don’t yet know exactly how many doses the campus will get in its first shipment — although Gunasekaran estimates about 1,000.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday will livestream its final review needed to authorize Pfizer’s vaccine for emergency use. The United Kingdom took that step last week, as did Canada on Wednesday.

The vaccine requires two doses spaced weeks apart for 95 percent efficacy. That means everyone should continue masking, social distancing and taking other precautions for some time, health care officials said.

The Gazette’s John McGlothlen contributed to this report.

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

Support our coverage

Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please subscribe. Your subscription will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.

Support our coverage

Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please subscribe. Your subscription will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.