CORONAVIRUS

Iowa adding new coronavirus cases at record clip

990 more cases added in 24-hour period

This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. Research into the link be
This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19. Research into the link between high blood pressure and COVID-19 is ongoing. (NIAID/TNS)

The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in Iowa is the highest it has ever been and the rate of virus tests that prove positive continues an alarming trend.

The state added 990 new cases in the 24-hour period ending at 11 a.m. Sunday. That brings the seven-day average of newly reported cases to 1,135 cases a day.

According to a database maintained by the New York Times, Iowa’s rate of adding cases per capita is now the highest of any state in the nation.

However, last week Iowa began including antigen test results — those that detect proteins in a test quicker than a typical COVID-19 test. When the proteins are found, those people are presumed to have COVID-19.

When the results of previous antigen tests were added for Friday’s report, they led to a huge increase in new cases, and the positivity rate of tests skyrocketed to over 79 percent. A spokesman for the governor’s office said that data dump was a one-time increase.

Sunday’s tallies, while more in line with what Iowa saw earlier, are nonetheless troubling.

The positivity rate — the percentage of tests that came back positive — was 17.65 percent. That means about 1 in 6 Iowans whose tests were run in the 24-hour period were presumed to have COVID-19.

The additional new cases bring Iowa’s total to 64,102 so far.

The state reported two additional deaths due to the virus in Winneshiek County and one more death in Marshall County. But it subtracted one death from Polk County, presumably because it has been incorrectly counted at some point.

The new deaths due to the virus brought the statewide total to 1,110.

Linn County added 50 new cases, for a total of 2,960 and a positivity rate of 14.37 percent.

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Johnson County added 190 cases — more than any other county during the period — for a 40.86 positivity rate.

Even so, the number of patients hospitalized in Iowa because of the virus declined. Current hospitalizations dropped from 315 to 308, patients in intensive care declined from 91 to 88, and patients on ventilators to help breathe inched down from 43 to 42.

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