CORONAVIRUS

Six more coronavirus deaths in Iowa, firsts seen in Calhoun County

Willow Gardens Care Center in Marion. (Google Street View image from 2019)
Willow Gardens Care Center in Marion. (Google Street View image from 2019)

Six more Iowans died from the COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, according to state data released in a 24-hour period ending at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Two deaths in Calhoun County were the county’s first incidents, making it the 56th county in Iowa to report COVID-19 deaths. Statewide, 212 positive cases were reported in the last 24 hours.

The number of tests conducted dropped to less than half what was reported two days ago.

The state reported 3,343 test results on Tuesday, down from two days earlier when 7,702 test results were reported.

During a bill signing event in Steamboat Rock Tuesday, Gov. Kim Reynolds said the state continued to see “positive signs of recovery,” pointing to a sub-10 percent positive testing rate and low numbers of hospitalizations and deaths lately.

“We’re not seeing what’s happening in Texas and Arizona and Florida,” she said.

She also announced a change in the way the Iowa Department of Public Health would be tracking recoveries. Instead of confirming a person had recovered through a phone call — she said “a lot of follow-up calls go unanswered” — the state would now classify cases as “recovered” after 28 days had passed from the time of a positive test.

That means that instead of 62 percent of people being recovered, Iowa now had more than 80 percent that are classified as recovered, using this method.

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“We believe the change more accurately represents the number of recovered,” Reynolds said.

Four long-term care centers were removed from Iowa’s list of centers with outbreaks as of Tuesday’s numbers, though 20 facilities still are reporting outbreaks.

The four facilities removed from the list are NewAldaya Lifescapes in Black Hawk County, Good Samaritan Society-Villisca in Montgomery County, and two in Polk County — Polk City Nursing and Rehab Ramsey Village.

Two COVID-19 patients at Willow Gardens Care Center in Marion have recovered. The facility, which previously had 26 cases, now has 17 according to state data.

Johnson County reported 36 new cases in the last 24 hours, which marks two weeks of double-digit COVID-19 cases reported daily out of the county. Some businesses have closed over the weekend, and the Johnson County Public Health Department has hired 27 new part-time contact tracers to help contain the outbreak.

On Monday, Johnson County recorded its highest single-day tally of new COVID-19 cases since the first cases of the virus in the state were reported there March 8.

More COVID-19 patients reported to the hospital in the last 24 hours. A net 14 more Iowans are hospitalized after 25 COVID-19 patients were admitted in the last 24 hours. Patients in intensive care were down one from Monday to 34, and two more patients were reported to be on ventilators, bringing the statewide total to 20.

John McGlothlen of The Gazette and Amie Rivers of the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier contributed to this report.

Comments: (319) 398-8370; sarah.watson@thegazette.com

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