COVID-19 hospitalizations dip but remain high

For second day, Iowa reports over 40 virus deaths

Medical staff talk Nov. 19 to people lined up for a COVID-19 test at the Test Iowa site at 5755 Willow Creek Dr. SW in C
Medical staff talk Nov. 19 to people lined up for a COVID-19 test at the Test Iowa site at 5755 Willow Creek Dr. SW in Cedar Rapids. The tests are by appointment only. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Correction: There were 3,323 new individual cases reported in the 24-hour period ending 11 a.m. Thursday. A previous version of this article had an incorrect number that was lower. (Updated 2:15 p.m., Nov. 28, 2020)

The number of patients being treated for COVID-19 in Iowa hospitals declined Thursday morning to 1,269 — the first time since Nov. 15 it has dipped below 1,300.

While the drop from 1,305 a day earlier is good news for hospitals enacting emergency plans for coping with a surge of coronavirus patients, it is a mixed bag at best.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the state still is triple what it was during the next-largest surge in April. While the number of patients on ventilators dropped from 150 Wednesday to 142 Thursday, the number of patients in intensive care rose from 269 to 271 in the same time period.

According to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health analyzed by The Gazette, another 41 COVID-19 deaths were confirmed Thursday morning — the second highest ever, with the record of 47 being set just a day earlier.

Of the most recently confirmed COVID-19 deaths, Woodbury County reported four; Shelby reported three; and Linn, Cerro Gordo, Clinton, Des Moines, Jasper and Polk counties each reported two. Additionally, Appanoose, Audubon, Black Hawk, Buchanan, Butler, Dallas, Dubuque, Fayette, Franklin, Ida, Iowa, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Kossuth, Plymouth, Poweshiek, Story, Taylor, Washington, Webster, Winneshiek and Wright counties each reported one.

The state data does not explain why the counties reported a total of 42 COVID-19 deaths while the state reported Iowa’s total rose one fewer.

To date, 2,312 people on Iowa have died as a result of the virus.

The state also reported 3,323 new cases during a 24-hour period ending at 11 a.m. Thursday, with a positivity rate of 38.46 percent. The total number of reported cases so far is now 222,280.

Linn County added 192 cases with a daily positivity rate of 33.10 percent. The county’s total number of cases is 13,841 and its seven-day average is 195 new cases.

Johnson County added 119 cases in the period, with a daily positivity rate of 27.48 percent. The county’s total number of cases is 9,355 and its seven-day average is 105 new cases.

The new cases reported Thursday include 423 children ages 17 and younger, bringing the number of infections in that age group to 21,962 since March. Five new cases also were reported among education employees, bringing that total to 7,602.

There were two new outbreaks at long-term care facilities, with that state now reporting outbreaks at 152 facilities.

West Ridge Care in Cedar Rapids had a noticeable spike in cases, according to the state data, bringing its total to 21 from single digits the previous day.

The five state-operated Test Iowa sites, and the State Hygienic Lab, were closed Thursday for the holiday. The five sites will reopen for testing as usual at 8 a.m. Friday. However, people must first take as assessment at and schedule an appoint before going to a site for the free test.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; Stephen Schmid of The Gazette contributed to this report.

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