Students, staff quarantine across Iowa as COVID-19 infections rise

COVID-19 cells (Photo via Ohio.gov)

As Iowa schools resume this week across the state, some school districts are already quarantining students and staff due to COVID-19 exposure.

The situations vary. At the Adair-Casey-Guthrie Center school district, the varsity volleyball team is under quarantine after an athlete tested positive for the virus. 

At the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont school district, the elementary building is closed due to multiple staff members showing COVID-19 symptoms and one person testing positive. 

At Carlisle, six middle school teachers are under quarantine after one of them tested positive on the first day of classes, according to Local 5 News. In the Indianola school district,  eight sixth-grade teachers have been quarantined since Aug. 19 after one tested positive and the others were exposed.

In Iowa, COVID-19 cases are continuing to trend upward. Another 665 Iowans tested positive for the virus Tuesday and 12 people were reported as having died of the virus, according to the New York Times COVID-19 tracker.

Over the past seven days, Iowa had an average of 629 new cases of COVID-19 per day — an increase of 34% from the average two weeks earlier, according to the New York Times.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported the number of new infections on Tuesday to be considerably lower, at 161. It also reported only two deaths.

It’s not unusual for New York Times’ COVID-19 tracker to report a significantly higher daily count of infections and deaths in Iowa than what is reported by the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Two additional counties have also hit at least a 15% infection rate over a 14-day average, according to IDPH. Howard County has reached a 20% infection rate and Marion is at 16.6%. That two-week average rate is one of the governor’s thresholds to apply for 100% online learning for two weeks. A total of seven counties are at the 15% threshold.

As of Tuesday, there have been 58,019 COVID-19 cases in Iowa. There have been 1,062 deaths in Iowa since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the New York Times.

Currently, there are 34 COVID-19 outbreaks in Iowa nursing homes, with 1,079 infections reported in those homes. There have been 572 Iowa nursing home deaths tied to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

The number of Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19 increased from 295 on Monday to 313 on Tuesday. That’s the highest hospitalization level since early June. The number of infected Iowans admitted to a hospital during the previous 24 hours increased stood at 47 on Tuesday, up from 39 the previous day.

The state’s coronavirus website states that hospitalization rates may be affected by the Aug. 10 derecho storm. Some Iowans with COVID-19 might be hospitalized for temporary treatment due to damage to their home or long-term care facility. “This may cause hospitalization data or other data on the site to fluctuate in the short term,” the website states.

 

Linh Ta
Reporter Linh Ta comes to Iowa Capital Dispatch from the Des Moines Register, where she covered trending news, public safety and the suburbs. Most recently, she has covered retail business and followed both national and local trends to provide insight about the issues that matter the most to Iowans. Beyond traditional journalism, Ta has worked as a speech coach with the Des Moines Storytellers Project with the goal of sharing the diverse perspectives of Iowans from all walks of life. She is the 2019 winner of the Young Iowa Journalist Award and the winner of an Iowa Broadcast News Award. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @linhmaita.