CORONAVIRUS

Iowa coronavirus hospitalizations drop for second consecutive day

It's the first back-to-back decreases since COVID-19 hospitalization reporting began in Iowa

Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks about the state's response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference Thursday in Joh
Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks about the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak during a news conference Thursday in Johnston. (Associated Press)

For the second consecutive day the number of Iowa patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has dropped.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported Saturday that 402 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus, down five from the previous day, and down 15 from its current peak of 417 on Thursday.

Saturday’s totals mark the first time back-to-back COVID-19 hospitalization decreases since figures had begun being tracked.

Nine deaths in Iowa were recorded Saturday, according to the Department of Public Health, bringing the total to 252. But it snapped a streak of four consecutive days in which 10 or more deaths were recorded in Iowa.

Four of the deaths were in Polk County, bringing Polk’s total to 58 — matching Linn County’s as most in the state.

Saturday was the first time since Monday that no deaths in Linn County were reported.

Two deaths were in Jasper County, one each in Johnson, Muscatine and Tama counties.

Four of those who died were 81 years of age and older, three were 61 to 80 and two were aged 41 to 60.

Saturday’s report also showed there now have been a total of 29 outbreaks recorded in long-term care facilities statewide.

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Including Saturday’s latest figures from the Department of Public Health — with 214 positive cases, for a total of 11,671 — these are the top 10 Iowa counties in terms of total cases:

• Polk — 2,194

• Woodbury — 1,554

• Black Hawk — 1,477

• Linn — 819

• Marshall — 702

• Dallas — 660

• Johnson — 549

• Muscatine — 471

• Tama — 327

• Louisa — 282.

More than 71,000 Iowans — one of 43 — have been tested, and 16.3 percent of those tested have been positive cases, according to the state.

Forty-six percent of Iowa deaths have been those age 81 and older, while 87 percent are 61 and older. Fifty-one percent have been male.

Beginning this past Friday, Gov. Kim Reynolds permitted more businesses to partially reopen.

“I’m proud to say that Iowans do what they always do and they responded,” she said at her Thursday news conference, her most recent. “So since we’ve kind of really accomplished what we were trying to do, ... now we have shifted our focus from mitigation and resources to managing and containing virus activity as we begin to open Iowa back up.”

Reynolds met with President Donald Trump on Wednesday at the White House to discuss the pandemic and mitigation strategies in the state.

Vice President Mike Pence visited Iowa Friday, when he met with faith leaders and agricultural and food company executives.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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