White House: Iowa is in the top 10 for highest COVID-19 positivity rate in the country

COVID-19 cells (Photo via Ohio.gov)

Iowa has the sixth-highest COVID-19 positivity rate and the third-highest number of new infections per capita in the country, according to the latest White House coronavirus task force report for the state.

In the report issued Sept. 6, the task force recommended requiring face masks in metro school districts and counties with reported COVID-19 cases. The task force examined Iowa’s numbers for the week ending Aug. 30.

It also warned that bars should be closed in 61 counties and restaurants restricted to 25% capacity in 32 counties. Gov. Kim Reynolds has closed bars in six counties while others are allowed to operate under virus mitigation rules such as keeping customers six feet apart.

Iowa remains in the “red zone,” meaning there are more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population, according to the White House coronavirus task force report for the state. 

The state had 189 new cases per 100,000 people, which is higher than the national average of 88 new cases per 100,000.

The three counties with the highest number of new cases were Polk, Johnson and Story, representing nearly 40% of new cases in the state, through the White House categorized 62% of all Iowa counties as having moderate or high levels of community transmission.

At the state’s universities, the task force recommends increasing testing capacity, creating a plan for rapid testing and potentially testing wastewater for early COVID-19 detection.

As universities across the country grapple with reopening during the pandemic, Utah State University quarantined 300 students in their dormitories after COVID-19 was detected in the wastewater. The wastewater test helped detect asymptomatic people who were unaware they had the virus, according to ABC News.

On Thursday, 954 new cases were reported in Iowa. Over the past seven days, Iowa had an average of 694 cases per day, a decrease of 30% from the average two weeks earlier.

Four people died from COVID-19 related causes, according to the New York Times. 

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 572 individuals tested positive and one person died due to coronavirus-related causes, according to the state’s website.

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.