CORONAVIRUS

Iowa exceeds 4,000 COVID-19 deaths

Medical staff direct people lined up Nov. 19 for a COVID-19 test at the Test Iowa site, 5755 Willow Creek Dr. SW in Ceda
Medical staff direct people lined up Nov. 19 for a COVID-19 test at the Test Iowa site, 5755 Willow Creek Dr. SW in Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Iowa on Wednesday surpassed 4,000 deaths from COVID-19, and the number of new virus cases is once again climbing.

The state reported 61 confirmed deaths from the virus in the 24 hours ending at 11 a.m. Wednesday, bringing the state’s death toll since March to 4,060.

State data shows 59 percent of the people who’ve died in Iowa from the virus were age 80 or above, with 22 percent of the deaths among those between 70 and 79.

The percent of deaths in other age groups were: 60 to 69, 13 percent; 50 to 59, 5 percent; 40 to 49, 1 percent; and 30 to 39, 1 percent.

Men have accounted for 52 percent of the deaths.

More than 92.5 percent of the individuals who died were white, 3 percent were Hispanic or Latino, 2.4 percent were Black and 1.3 percent were Asian.

New cases

Iowa reported 2,854 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday — the highest number of new cases reported in a 24-hour period since Dec. 4, when 2,905 cases were recorded. The state’s seven-day average of new cases is 1,562.

The new cases included 362 children ages 17 and younger — the highest number of new cases reported among children since Dec. 4.

The state said 6,096 people were tested for the virus in the 24-hour period, the first time that total has exceeded 5,000 since Dec. 23. The positivity rate for those tests was 48.8 percent.

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Fifty-four counties in Iowa are reporting 14-day positivity rates above 15 percent, a benchmark state education officials set in 2019 before schools could request moving to online learning.

Linn County added 147 cases as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, bringing its total number of cases since march to 17,010. The county’s seven day average is 75 and its death toll is 258.

Johnson County added 65 cases in the 24-hours period, bringing its total to 11,420. The county’s seven-day average is 57 and its death toll is 48.

Story County added 103 cases Wednesday — the highest number of new cases seen in a 24-hour period since Nov. 24.

To date, 289,533 Iowans have tested positive for the virus since March.

Hospitalizations

The number of Iowans hospitalized with the virus, as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, was 604, up from 582 the day before.

The number of patients in intensive care units ticked up to 116 from 115, as did the number of patients on ventilators, increasing from 53 to 54.

No reports

Iowa surpassed 4,000 virus deaths just days after Iowa public health officials confirmed Monday they are no longer receiving reports about the state’s COVID-19 outbreak from the White House Coronavirus Task Force after the federal task force decided to distribute the report only to those requesting it.

“We are not requesting the report at this time. You or your outlet should feel free to request it from the White House,” Iowa Department of Public Health spokesperson Sarah Ekstrand told The Gazette in a Monday email.

No reason was given.

The task force reports look at each state’s coronavirus outbreaks and compare them to the rest of the nation. The report also gives recommendations for policies to contain the pandemic. The reports for Iowa frequently encouraged officials to take stronger action to limit the spread of coronavirus.

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Gov. Kim Reynolds frequently criticized the authors of the report, stating they didn’t have a full picture of activity in Iowa or the precautions the state had in place.

Deaths

The 61 deaths reported Wednesday were recorded in 38 counties.

Two-thirds of the deaths — 43 — were among adults age 81 and over. Sixteen were between 61 and 80; one was between 41 and 60; and one between 18 and 40.

Linn County recorded the most deaths in the 24-hour period — eight — with Clinton County reporting the second highest, with four.

Counties that reported three deaths each were Hardin, Kossuth and Warren. Counties reporting two deaths each were Black Hawk, Bremer, Cherokee, Des Moines, Jefferson, Louisa and Polk.

Counties that reported one death each were Adams, Audubon, Benton, Cass, Clarke, Clay, Delaware, Dickinson, Dubuque, Grundy, Hamilton, Henry, Howard, Jackson, Jasper, Lee, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Montgomery, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Shelby, Tory, Tama and Webster.

Long-term care

Virus outbreaks were reported in 91 long-term care facilities in the state, with 3,560 positive cases,

The Gazette’s John McGlothlen contributed to this report.

Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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