CORONAVIRUS

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Iowa have more than doubled since Nov. 1

Medical assistant Alex Abodeely holds a swab taken from a patient for a coronavirus test as she places it in a container
Medical assistant Alex Abodeely holds a swab taken from a patient for a coronavirus test as she places it in a container toe be transported for analysis at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Family Medicine Clinic in Iowa City on Monday, April 20, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Iowa have more than doubled since Nov. 1 as cases continue to surge at a record-breaking pace.

According to data from the Iowa Department of Health, 1,392 people were treated for COVID-19 in Iowa hospitals in the 24-hour period ending at 11 a.m. Monday — a new high. That’s more than twice the 676 hospitalizations that were reported Nov. 1.

Of those hospitalized, 271 were in intensive-care units and 123 were placed on ventilators to help them breathe — both record highs.

Ninety of those patients being treated in Iowa hospitals are Linn County residents, according to IDPH, while in Johnson County, data from the University of Iowa shows 79 adults and six children were being treated for the virus as of 9 a.m. Monday

Iowa reported 2,350 new cases Monday, bringing the state’s total to 187,035. The state reported 5,411 test results, 3,061 of which were negative or inconclusive, giving the state a 24-hour positivity rate of 43.43 percent.

Six deaths in five counties were reported, bringing the state’s death toll to 1,991.

Woodbury County reported two deaths, while Black Hawk, Des Moines, Dubuque and Linn counties reported one death each.

Iowa continues to rank third-worst in the nation, behind North Dakota and South Dakota, when measured by the number of cases per 100,000 people, according to national databases maintained by the New York Times and Washington Post.

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Linn County added 122 cases Monday, bringing its total to 11,650. The county’s seven-day average is 359, down from 416 on Sunday, and its 24-hour positivity rate is 34.76 percent.

Johnson County, home to University of Iowa, added 91 cases, bringing its total to 8,251. The county’s seven-day average is 153, down from 176, and its 24-hour positivity rate is 31.06 percent.

Story County, home to Iowa State University, added 21 cases, bringing its total to 5,527. The county’s seven-day average is 99, down from 101, and its 24-hour positivity rate is 37.5 percent.

Black Hawk County, where University of Northern Iowa is located, added 87 cases, bringing its total to 9,147. The county’s seven-day average is 199, down from 216, and its 24-hour positivity rate is 57.62 percent.

Jones County, where Anamosa State Penitentiary is located, — added 26 cases, bringing its total to 1,845. The county’s seven-day average is 59, down from 68, and its 24-hour positivity rate is 63.41 percent.

Anamosa State Penitentiary has struggled with significant outbreaks over the past few weeks, and currently houses 263 inmates that have tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, 54 staff members are infected, according to data from the Iowa Department of Corrections.

Several of the state’s eight remaining correctional facilities are seeing a rapid spread of COVID-19 cases among staff and inmates.

The DOC website shows that 609 of the 25,876 tests run on inmates have tested positive — with Anamosa State Penitentiary accounting for more than a third of the positive cases — and six inmates had died as of Monday morning. Another 1,280 inmates and 238 staff members had recovered from the virus, and 139 staff members were COVID-19 positive.

Positive COVID-19 cases among children ages 17 and younger increased by 274, bringing the total to 17,808. Cases among people employed in education rose by 18, bringing that total to 7,537.

Alburnett and Springville’s school districts announced Monday that they would be transitioning to online learning and canceling all student activities, joining dozens of other districts in the state that have moved to virtual instruction.

Classes at Alburnett Community School District are canceled for Tuesday, and remote learning will begin Wednesday, with in-person classes expected to resume on Dec. 2. The district has applied for a waiver from the Iowa Department of Education allowing up to 14 days of remote learning, the district said in an announcement. The district said 21 percent of it employees and 12 percent of its students absences are related to COVID-19.

Springville Community School District is transitioning to online learning starting Tuesday through Nov. 24, the district said, citing the high positivity rate in Linn County and the number of quarantined students and staff, though the district had not updated the numbers on its COVID-19 dashboard website, which is updated on Tuesdays.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, health officials are warning against gatherings with people outside of your household.

Instead, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending people stay home and celebrate with their immediate family.

Last week, Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered groups of more than 25 people indoors and 100 or more outdoors to wear masks.

The governor’s orders — effective through Nov. 30 — also require groups going to bars or restaurants be limited to eight people, except for family members, which can be more. Additionally, bar and restaurant patrons are required to remain seated at tables.

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For those who insist on celebrating with people outside their households, the CDC recommends wearing masks, staying at least six feet apart and washing hands frequently.

The CDC also recommended celebrants:

— Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils

— Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.

— Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.

— Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.

— Have a small outdoor meal with family and friends who live in your community.

— Limit the number of guests.

— If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.

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

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