Having avoided a first confirmed case of coronavirus for weeks after the deadly virus’ arrival in Iowa, Linn County as of Saturday had the third-most cases in the state — marking a rapid escalation after reporting its first just one week ago.
Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office on Saturday reported Iowa’s positive COVID-19 case total reached 298 — thanks to an additional 64 positive cases in 21 counties.
Linn County saw the biggest increase, with another 14 positive cases — including six adults in the younger age range from 18 to 40; five between 41 and 60; and three between ages 61 and 80. Those additional cases bring Linn County’s total to 36 — just four shy of the 40 in Polk County.
Johnson County, home to the University of Iowa and the state’s first COVID-19 cases, still reports the most with 61.
Linn County’s rise to the top three happened in just a week — as Reynolds last Saturday announced the Eastern Iowa community’s first three COVID-19 cases. Its rapid escalation mirrors a broader statewide trend, in that Iowa had 68 cases a week ago and now has more than four times that.
The virus is spreading just as quickly across the country, as the United States now reports the most COVID-19 cases of any country in the world — at more than 112,400, according to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine.
Iowa, as of Saturday afternoon, ranked 35th in the nation in coronavirus cases — with smaller and more rural states, such as Wyoming, the Dakotas and West Virginia reporting fewer.
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As the death toll nationally and internationally continues to climb, Iowa has reported three COVID-19-related deaths.
Many of Iowa’s cases — as is true for the rest of the country — are clustered around its urban centers — Polk, Johnson, Linn, Scott, Muscatine, Dubuque and Hardin counties. Many counties in northwest Iowa have yet to report a case, or have reported just one.
Some of the prevalence is tied to testing, which Iowa is continuing to ramp up with the state law week sending $900,000 to its State Hygienic Lab in Coralville to expand its testing capacity, and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics on Friday beginning to conduct its own COVID-19 tests.
Gov. Kim Reynolds plans to hold a news conference Sunday at 2:30 p.m. It can be viewed on The Gazette’s website, at thegazette.com/coronavirus.
A public hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for questions about COVID-19. Iowans can reach that hotline by dialing 2-1-1 or 1 or 1-800-244-7431.
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