CORONAVIRUS

Iowa COVID-19 hospitalizations set records again

State continues to ramp up number of tests

Medical assistant Alex Abodeely rolls up a sealed specimen bag containing a coronavirus test sample April 20 at the Univ
Medical assistant Alex Abodeely rolls up a sealed specimen bag containing a coronavirus test sample April 20 at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Family Medicine Clinic in Iowa City. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

The number of patients being treated in Iowa hospitals for the COVID-19 respiratory disease continued to trend in the wrong direction Sunday, with record numbers of people admitted, placed in intensive care or put on ventilators to help breathe.

According to public health data, the number of virus patients in Iowa hospitals increased from 1,261 to 1,279 in the 24-hour period ending at 11 a.m. Sunday. Those in intensive care inched up from 246 to 247 and those on ventilators rose from 107 to 115. All are record highs since COVID-19 was first confirmed in Iowa in March.

The five Iowa counties that reported the most virus patients currently hospitalized were Polk (116), Linn (86), Scott (75), Black Hawk (74) and Dubuque (50).

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is activating the first phase of its surge plan that includes adding intensive care unit beds. UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Hospital and Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, and Mercy Hospital in Iowa City, all announced plans last week to preserve staff and personal protective gear by curtailing elective procedures that require overnight stays.

For the ninth day in a row, Iowa’s daily tally of new virus cases exceeds 4,000. The 4,429 new cases added in the 24-hour period bring the state’s tally of confirmed cases so far to 184,685.

Linn County added 365 of those cases in the period, for a total so far of 11,528. Johnson County added 121 of the state’s cases, for a total of 8,160.

The number of cases in school-age children up to age 17 grew by 379 cases during the period for a total of 17,534.

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However, the number of cases for people in the education field rose by just seven — the lowest increase since The Gazette started keeping track in September when schools started for the fall. The total since then is 7,519 cases.

The state reported that for the third day in a row, the number of test results obtained in the period exceeded five figures — 10,310 as of Sunday morning.

Public health officials also reported that, according to the state’s methodology, 95 of Iowa’s 99 counties have positivity rates of 15 percent or greater when averaged over 14 days. The four counties with the lowest rate averages were Audubon (14.7 percent), Monona (12.3), Clarke (11.1) and Ringgold (8.4).

During the 24-hour period, Iowa recorded an additional 13 deaths blamed on COVID-19, for a total so far of 1,985.

Linn County recorded three of the new deaths and Black Hawk County recorded two. Adair, Benton, Cerro Gordo, Marion, Montgomery, Tama, Webster and Woodbury counties each reported one death.

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