Iowa ranks 12th highest in per capita COVID-19 infections

By: - June 16, 2020 5:58 pm

The average number of new COVID-19 infections in Iowa rose by 55% this past week, and the state now has one of the nation’s worst positivity rates for the virus. (Photo by Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images)

Iowa now has the nation’s 12th highest rate of COVID-19 infections, with 758 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents.

According to an analysis by Reuters, Iowa is also one of only two states in the top 12 of per capita infections where the number of new infections is increasing.

Iowa saw its number of newly confirmed infections increase 6.8% with 2,659 new cases confirmed for the week ending June 14, Reuters found. Louisiana, which ranks 10th in per capita infections, saw the number of infections in that state increase 31 percent that same week.

New York still has the nation’s highest per capita number of reported infections, followed by New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Louisiana and Nebraska.

The number of newly confirmed cases in Alabama, meanwhile, rose 97% to 5,115 for the week that ended June 14. New cases in South Carolina rose 86% to 4,509.

Those increases don’t appear to be attributable to increased testing, as 14% of all tests in Alabama came back positive, compared to 6% the previous week. A similar increase in positive test results was reported in South Carolina.

In Oklahoma, where President Donald Trump intends to stage a campaign rally on Saturday, newly confirmed infections rose 68% for the week.

The number of newly reported deaths in Iowa dropped significantly during that same period, with 48 additional deaths for the week — a decrease of 31 percent, the third biggest drop in the nation.

Despite the increase in infections for the week ending June 14, the number of confirmed new infections in Iowa has decreased in recent days.

The New York Times reported 151 new cases for Monday in Iowa, down from the previous day’s 167 new cases, and a significant drop from the 337 to 462 new, daily cases that were being reported last week.

The Iowa counties with the highest number of infections on a per capita basis continue to be, in order: Buena Vista, Crawford, Louisa, Woodbury, Tama, Marshall and Wright — each of which has now reported at least 2,200 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents.

Buena Vista County is particularly hard hit by the virus. There have been 7,897 infections confirmed for every 100,000 residents of the county. That’s more than double the per capita rate of infection in Crawford County, and almost eight times the rate of infection in Polk, Iowa’s most populous county.

Buena Vista County is home to a Tyson pork processing plant in the city of Storm Lake.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing.