CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus cases surge in Linn County

Confirmed cases jump from three to 36 in a week

An Iowa Department of Transportation digital sign displays a message over a highway in response to the spread of COVID-1
An Iowa Department of Transportation digital sign displays a message over a highway in response to the spread of COVID-19 this past Thursday in Des Moines. (Associted Press)

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.

Comments: (319) 339-3158; vanessa.miller@thegazette.com

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Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate. Your contribution will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.

All donations are tax-deductible.