CORONAVIRUS

Iowa's COVID-19 hospitalizations dip to four-month low

Glitch in reporting new cases led officials to overstate data

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Corona
This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). This virus was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China. (CDC via AP)

Continuing a downward trajectory from a pre-Thanksgiving spike, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Iowa reached a low Sunday not seen in about four months and finally dipping below last summer’s worst surge.

The number of people being treated for the respiratory illness in Iowa hospitals declined from 419 to 382 in the 24-hour period ending at 11 a.m. Sunday. Those in intensive care inched up from 76 to 79, while those placed on ventilators dropped from 38 to 36.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state has been ticking down since an alarming spike of 1,527 patients reported Nov. 18. The 382 patients reported Sunday morning is the lowest level since 376 on Sept 29. The decline from the spike now puts the number of COVID-19 patients below the worst of last summer, when hospitalizations in Iowa reached 417 on May 7.

An analysis by The Gazette shows that new cases of the disease were overstated this weekend on the public coronavirus website after the state mistakenly double counted some data.

The number of new cases reported in a 24-hour period ending Saturday morning actually was 1,353 — not the 3,060 cases recorded.

Similarly, a corrected number of new cases in the 24-hour period ending Sunday morning is 846, bringing the total so far to 312,814.

Of the new cases, Linn County added 52 for a total of 18,038 and Johnson County added 34 for a total of 12,287.

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The state also confirmed an additional death from COVID-19 — an individual between the ages of 61 and 80 in Clarke County.

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