CORONAVIRUS

Iowa COVID-19 hospitalizations drop below 1,000

Still, that's over twice as high as the summer surge

Medical assistant Shannon Jensen (right) carries a swab for a coronavirus test taken from a patient in their car back to
Medical assistant Shannon Jensen (right) carries a swab for a coronavirus test taken from a patient in their car back to her colleague Katrina Rogers to be bagged and sealed at the Family Medicine Clinic of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City on Monday, April 20, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

The number of people being treated for COVID-19 in Iowa hospitals dropped below 1,000 Saturday for the first time in 17 days, but remains more than twice as high as the summer peak.

According to state public health data, the total number of Iowa COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped from 1,000 to 960 in the 24-hour period ending at 11 a.m. Saturday — the fist time it fell below 1,000 since Nov. 18. Of those, the number of patients in intensive care declined from 209 to 204 and those on ventilators dropped from 128 to 117.

Despite the decline in hospitalizations, that total is far higher than the 417 peak reached May 7 during the first surge.

The number of deaths the state confirmed Saturday to be caused by the coronavirus also dropped to 62 — still an alarmingly high number coming after two record-setting days in a row.

With its 688 COVID-19 deaths, November was by far Iowa’s deadliest month since the pandemic began. But in just the first five days of December, the state has seen more than a third of that monthly toll already.

Iowa has recorded 2,665 COVID-19 deaths so far. Forty-three counties reported the latest:

Polk County added five and Butler, Scott, Shelby and Woodbury counties each recorded three. Black Hawk, Davis, Floyd, Lee, Marion, Pottawattamie and Warren counties each added two. Adair, Appanoose, Carroll, Cass, Chickasaw, Clay, Clinton, Delaware, Dubuque, Hamilton, Henry, Humboldt, Ida, Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, Kossuth, Linn, Lyon, Marshall, Mills, Mitchell, Monona, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Sac, Story, Union and Winneshiek each recorded one death.

Of the 62 deaths, 34 were of people over 80, according to the state.

Iowa added 2,362 new coronavirus cases in the 24-hour period, for a total so far of 242,061. The state said the number of new cases was based on 6,401 test results, with 4,039 of them coming back negative or inconclusive in the period.

OF the new cases, Linn County added 123, for a total of 14,917.

Johnson County added 67 cases, for a total of 9,950 cases so far.

Stephen Colbert of The Gazette contributed to this report.

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