CORONAVIRUS

Iowa surpasses 2,900 COVID-19 deaths with state reporting change

The state also has 1,392 new virus cases and 900 total virus hospitalizations

Medical staff check documents for the novel coronavirus Covid-19 test at the Test Iowa site, 5755 Willow Creek Dr. SW, i
Medical staff check documents for the novel coronavirus Covid-19 test at the Test Iowa site, 5755 Willow Creek Dr. SW, in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. The site provides protection from winter weather for medical staff and testing subjects. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Iowa reported 198 new COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday because of a counting change the state made with virus deaths.

State officials announced a new method of recording COVID-19 deaths late Monday, which led to Tuesday’s net increases across the state, bringing the total deaths to 2,915 deaths.

On Monday night, Interim Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health Kelly Garcia told reporters the state is now recording COVID-19 deaths according to federal cause-of-death coding, which is based on the death record completed by a health care provider.

Previously, if a physician deemed a person’s death to be caused by COVID-19 but there was no positive test on file, the state did not record the death as COVID-19 related. Now, only the COVID-19 cause-of-death coding is required to be recognized as a virus death.

Because the new recording system was applied retroactively to the start of the pandemic in Iowa in March, the 198 deaths reported Tuesday were not all reported in the last 24 hours.

Many counties saw an increase in total COVID-related deaths, while some saw a net decrease.

In Linn County, the total deaths rose from 173 to 204 as of 11 a.m. on Tuesday under the new method.

In Johnson County, deaths attributed to COVID-19 decreased from 41 to 39.

Statewide, there were 1,392 new cases reported in the 24-hour period ending at 11 a.m. Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 246,237 cases.

On Tuesday, 900 individuals were hospitalized across the state due to the virus. ICU patients dropped from 200 to 191, and patients on ventilators went from 120 to 111.

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As of Sunday, 51 Linn County residents and 19 Johnson County residents were hospitalized for COVID-19.

The 1,392 new, positive virus cases comes from 3,625 test results over the 24-hour period Tuesday.

Linn County added 67 new cases, bringing the county total to 15,109 and its seven-day average to 108.

Johnson County added 53 cases, for a total of 10,071 and a seven-day average of 58.

Of the new cases, 133 were of individuals aged 0-17, bringing the total, confirmed number of minors in Iowa infected with the virus to 24,816.

Four new cases were of individuals who identified within the education occupation category, bringing that total number to 7,635.

Local long-term care facilities continue to deal with virus outbreaks. In Linn County, The Gardens of Cedar Rapids still has 15 cases and two recoveries and Willow Gardens Care Center in Marion has 72 cases and 55 recoveries.

Johnson County’s Lantern Park Specialty Care was added to the state’s outbreak list with 29 cases and zero recoveries.

The Gazette’s John McGlothlen contributed to this report.

Comments: (319) 398-8255; gage.miskimen@thegazette.com

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