Iowa reports 1,276 positive COVID-19 cases over weekend, NYT data show

The average weekly number of positive COVID-19 cases in Iowa was down 45% compared to two weeks ago, New York Times data show. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Iowans tested positive for 1,276 new COVID-19 cases and four more Iowans died over the weekend, according to the New York Times’ COVID-19 tracker.

Over the past week, there has been an average of 638 new cases per day in Iowa, a decrease of 45% from two weeks ago, according to the New York Times’ COVID-19 tracker.

The reduction in new cases comes after Iowa peaked as a COVID-19 hot spot in the country. Counties such as Story and Johnson grappled with college students returning to campus, while school districts across the state started in-person classes. A weekly White House report ranked Iowa as the third-highest for the number of new infections per capita for the week ending Aug. 30.

On Aug. 27, Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a proclamation closing bars in six counties, citing the rising number of young adults who are testing positive for COVID-19. The proclamation is set to expire on Sunday.

Though the state’s weekend COVID-19 numbers show a reduction of positive cases, Iowa still remains in the top 10 for the most cases per 100,000 population in the last seven days, according to the New York Times. The state has had 74,815 positive cases and 1,222 deaths as of Sept. 13.

Iowa is ranked eighth, just behind Arkansas. North Dakota and South Dakota are ranked in the top following the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which drew in hundreds of thousands of event-goers at the end of August.

While Iowa’s case numbers are still high in comparison to the rest of the country, it is one of five states where the averages are starting to decline.

According to a New York Times’ analysis of nationwide COVID-19 numbers, the majority of states have low case counts, but the Midwest and South saw a spike in new cases in late summer.

This weekend’s numbers come as Iowa school districts have lost several court battles over who has the authority to decide if a school should hold classes exclusively online.

A Polk County judge ruled Sept. 7 that the Des Moines school district cannot start its school year 100% online, citing a law that was passed by the Iowa Legislature that offered COVID-19 guidance. While the judge acknowledged the exposure students and staff face, the in-person mandate falls under the jurisdiction of state law, rather than school boards, according to the ruling.

The school board is scheduled to vote Tuesday night on its next steps.

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.