CORONAVIRUS

All 99 Iowa counties have now reported a COVID-19 death

Iowa reports 35 more COVID-19 deaths and 913 new positive cases on Monday

Medical staff take a nasopharyngeal sample for the novel coronavirus Covid-19 test at the Test Iowa site, 5755 Willow Cr
Medical staff take a nasopharyngeal sample 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 recorded another 35 confirmed COVID-19 deaths in 23 counties in the past 24 hours on Monday, bringing the state’s death toll to 2,717, according to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

A death reported in Decatur County was the county’s first confirmed COVID-19 fatality. Until Monday, it was the state’s last county to have not yet reported a death.

Roughly half — 17 — of the recently confirmed deaths involved Iowans between the ages of 61 and 80, while elderly individuals over the age of 80 accounted for 14 of those deaths. The remaining deaths were reported among adults between the ages of 41 and 60.

Black Hawk, Polk and Scott counties each reported four deaths, while Clinton, Linn and Webster counties reported two deaths each. The counties that reported one death each are Adair, Audubon, Benton, Cedar, Clay, Clayton, Decatur, Dubuque, Harrison, Jasper, Keokuk, Mahaska, Mitchell, Muscatine, Pottawattamie, Shelby and Wright.

As of 11 a.m. Monday, the state reported an additional 913 positive cases. The state said that was based on 2,381 test results — the fewest number of test results reported in a 24-hour period since Aug. 24 — 1,466 of which were negative or inconclusive.

The new additions bring the state’s total number of coronavirus cases since the pandemic was confirmed in Iowa in March to 244,845.

Of those new additions, 161 cases were reported among children age 17 or younger and one new case was recorded among education workers. Since March, 24,683 children and 7,631 education workers have been infected with the virus.

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Linn County added 48 new COVID-19 cases as of 11 a.m. Monday and passed a new grim mile stone as the county’s total number of cases surpassed 15,000. The county’s total number of cases is 15,042, and its seven-day average is 95.

Johnson County also met a new milestone Monday in exceeding 10,000 total cases since the start of the pandemic. The county added 27 cases in the past 24 hours, bringing its total to 10,018, and its seven-day average to 62.

Hospitalizations continued to decline over the past 24 hours, according to the data, with the number of patients being treated for coronavirus dipping from 918 to 898. Patients receiving treatment in intensive care units saw a slight increase from 195 to 200, while the number of patients that required ventilators to help them breathe saw a minute drop from 122 to 120.

As of Saturday, 52 Linn County residents were being treated for COVID-19 in Iowa hospitals — down from 58 reported Thursday — and 19 residents from Johnson County were also hospitalized.

The state’s data showed as of 11 a.m. Monday five new outbreaks in long-term care facilities were reported, bringing the total number of active outbreaks to 137 with 5,379 individuals currently infected with the virus.

Locally, Willow Gardens Care Center in Linn County reported one additional case in the past 24 hours, bringing its total to 71 cases.

Seven additional long-term care facility deaths were also reported Monday, bringing the total to 1,125.

Will Gov. Reynold’s emergency order be extended?

The governor’s latest emergency public health requirements are set to expire Thursday unless changed or extended.

Among other things, the order prohibits indoor gatherings of more than 15 people for social and leisure events including weddings and funerals, and limits such gatherings held outdoors to 30 people.

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The order requires that when people gather in an indoor public space and are unable to socially distance for 15 minutes or longer, masks are required. It also orders bars and restaurants to close by 10 p.m.

Iowa’s Catholic bishops encourage COVID-19 vaccination

On Thursday, Iowa’s four Catholic bishops released a statement encouraging the public to get vaccinated when COVID-19 vaccines become available.

“People may in good conscience use the vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna, which made only limited use of those unethical cell lines (for lab testing of the vaccine),” the bishops said. “Morally speaking, the vaccine offered by these two companies is relatively remote from the evil of abortion, and so need not trouble anyone’s conscience to use either one.”

The statement — signed by Bishops signed by Most Rev. Michael Jackels, Archbishop of Dubuque; Most Rev. R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City; Most Rev. Thomas Zinkula, Bishop of Davenport and Most Rev. William Joensen, Bishop of Des Moines — also said that the common good of public health “takes precedence over any reservation about being treated with vaccines; they will not be effective if people do not use them.”

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

John McGlothlen of The Gazette contributed to this report.

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