Iowa adds 1,300 more COVID cases; hospitalizations remain near record

Iowa State University is one of Iowa's COVID hotspots. (Photo by Perry Beeman/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

The coronavirus claimed at least 14 people in Iowa Wednesday, with 1,374 new cases reported, the New York Times reported Thursday

The latest report brought the state’s totals to 1,506 deaths and 103,632 cases since the COVID-19 pandemic started in the spring, according to the Times’ database.

The newspaper’s analysis shows an upward trend in the seven-day average of cases. The daily average based on the last week of readings has climbed from 647 on Sept. 14 to 1,100 as of Wednesday.

Iowa had 34.6% of total inpatient hospital beds available, as the number of hospitalized COVID patients hit 482 on Thursday, up from 473 on Wednesday, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported.

On Wednesday, the health department lowered Tuesday’s tally of current COVID-19 hospitalizations from 493 to 463 in a revision. The agency reported the number of Iowans hospitalized with the virus on Wednesday as 473 — a record high according to the agency’s revised data.

The state on Thursday reported 66 COVID-related admissions in the past 24 hours, down from Wednesday’s 74. 

The rolling 14-day averages for hospitalized patients, the number of patients in intensive care, and COVID-related hospital admissions all have been rising. Hospitals statewide still have 80% of their combined supply of ventilators available. 

Colleges and universities have overtaken meat processing plants as Iowa’s top COVID trouble spots, the Times reported. 

Twenty-two schools have amassed 4,305 cases, despite only returning to in-person classes this fall. The biggest numbers were at the University of Iowa at 2,109 and Iowa State University with 1,340. UI is the state’s second-largest university; ISU has the largest enrollment.

Other clusters include:

  • Food-processing facilities, with 3,109 cases at seven facilities. Tyson Foods’ plant in Waterloo led the list with 1,031 cases. 
  • Prisons, with 1,707 cases at seven prisons. Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility has had 457 and the Fort Dodge prison 408. 
  • Nursing homes, with 1,118 cases at 15 facilities, led by Heritage Specialty Care in Cedar Rapids at 115.