CORONAVIRUS

Saturday marks highest number of daily coronavirus deaths in Iowa so far

Iowa Department of Public Health reports 10 more people have died

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds provides an update on Covid-19 in Iowa on Friday, April 16, 2020, at the Iowa National Guard in J
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds provides an update on Covid-19 in Iowa on Friday, April 16, 2020, at the Iowa National Guard in Johnston, Iowa. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Register)

The Iowa Department of Public Health on Saturday reported 10 more people have died from COVID-19 — the highest daily death count recorded to date.

The update increases the state’s total coronavirus death toll to 74 Iowans, from 64 on Friday, including three each in Linn and Polk counties.

One Linn County resident who died was between 41 and 60 years old, while the other two were 81 or older. Two Polk County residents who died were between ages 61 and 80, while a third was 81 or older.

Department officials also reported one death in Appanoose County, between 61 and 80; one in Louisa County, 61 to 80; one in Muscatine County, over 80; and one in Tama County, 41 to 60.

The next highest number of Iowa COVID-19 deaths reported on one day was eight, on April 5.

Iowa’s death toll has more than doubled in a week, from 34 deaths as of April 11 to 74 deaths as of Saturday.

Statewide, the public health department said it was notified of 181 more known positive coronavirus cases, for a total of 2,513 positive cases across Iowa.

The department on Friday announced the largest increase in COVID-19 cases to date, of 191 known cases, narrowly surging past the previous high water mark of 189 reported on Tuesday.

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The latest statistics dovetail with outbreaks confirmed at least nine long-term care facilities — including Heritage Specialty Care in Cedar Rapids and Bickford Senior Living in Iowa City.

Meat processing plants also have factored in, with 86 new cases reported stemming from the Tyson Foods pork processing plant in Louisa County, plus several positive tests at the now-closed Iowa Premium beef plant in Tama.

Also on Saturday, the Iowa Department of Corrections was notified overnight that test results for an inmate at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville were returned positive.

The inmate was a new admission, from Henry County, on Thursday. All new admissions, the department said, are kept in an intake quarantine area for 14 days’ observation.

A correctional officer at the center had tested positive for the coronavirus, the department reported earlier this month.

Gov. Kim Reynolds on Friday encouraged state residents to continue efforts to “flatten” the curve, including remaining at home except for essential trips and maintaining social distancing.

Reynolds said state officials currently are determining specifics for how Iowa will stabilize and grow its economy, likely in phases based on health and testing metrics, though they “just don’t have the data” to start reopening the state at this time.

“By increasing the number of Iowans tested either through diagnostic tests to confirm positive COVID-19 cases or through serology testing to determine if a person has had the virus, we can then target specific communities and businesses that are in a position to open back in a way that is measured and responsible,” she said Friday.

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“So it really is a critical piece of us talking about how we start to reopen the state of Iowa back up.”

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported that 193 Iowans currently are hospitalized from COVID-19 — a 64-percent increase from 118 Iowans hospitalized one week ago. Another 1,095 people have recovered from the virus.

There have been 974 additional negative tests, for a total of 20,434 negative tests to date, including testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab in Coralville and other labs.

In terms of demographics, as of Friday, 72 percent of Iowa’s confirmed COVID-19 cases affected white residents, with black residents composing 9.3 percent of cases, according to the state’s coronavirus website. Asian residents made up 4 percent, with other races at 1.6 percent.

Racial demographics weren’t noted for the remaining 13.1 percent of confirmed cases.

In terms of ethnicity, 17.7 percent of the state’s confirmed COVID-19 cases affected Hispanic or Latino residents. The balance of cases was listed as unknown.

Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

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