Iowa COVID-19 cases up 15% in two weeks

By: - October 16, 2020 11:14 am

COVID-19 cell graphic. (Image via National Foundation for Infectious Diseases)

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Iowa has jumped 15% in the past two weeks and the number of coronavirus-related deaths has risen even more, 32%, according to New York Times data. 

There were 1,327 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths in Iowa on Thurday, the Times reported. 

Iowa has averaged 1,069 cases a day over the past week, up 15% from two weeks earlier, the Times reported. In the early months of the pandemic, counts of 300 to 500 cases a day were considered high. 

As of Friday morning, Iowa had recorded 104,232 cases and 1,516 deaths, the Times database showed. Iowa Department of Public Health records show that 89% of the deaths have involved people age 61 or older.

Of all coronavirus-related deaths in Iowa, 52% were men. And 1,017 of all COVID-related deaths in Iowa involved people with pre-existing conditions, the health department reported.

Federal health officials had feared the coronavirus would peak again in the fall. They have pushed for states to limit residents’ exposures to others.

Iowa has been among the most-infected states for months, and now is fighting rising numbers.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has consistently rejected a White House task force’s recommendation that Iowa have a statewide mask mandate, has pushed for in-person school classes and has reopened bars. She has said the reopening of businesses and schools is an important element in restoring Iowa’s economy and helping Iowans cope mentally with months of isolation brought on by the persistent virus. 

Reynolds has said people should wear masks, as she often does when she is not speaking at an event, but the practice should be a matter of personal responsibility and not government mandate.

Reynolds’ most recent restrictions for bars, gyms and other businesses expire Sunday. 

The state reported as of Friday morning, 14 counties had positivity rates above 15% with the highest rates in Harrison (26.3%) and Sioux (23.5%). Carroll had a rate of 20%. 

The health department also reported Friday that there are 61 outbreaks at long-term care facilities. The state reported 765 people had died at the centers since the pandemic began.

As of 9:30 a.m. Friday, 468 COVID patients were hospitalized, down from 482 on Thursday, the state reported. The 105 coronavirus patients in intensive care on Friday compared with 103 the day before. The number of COVID patients admitted to a hospital in the last 24 hours stood at 66 Friday morning, the same as Thursday. 

The health department reported Iowa has 35% of its inpatient hospital beds available, with 380 intensive care beds. More than three-quarters of the ventilator supply, 78.8%, also is available.

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Perry Beeman
Perry Beeman

Perry Beeman has nearly 40 years of experience in Iowa journalism and has won national awards for environmental and business writing. He has written for The Des Moines Register and the Business Record, where he also served as managing editor. He also is former editorial director of Grinnell College. He co-authored the recently published book, "The $80 Billion Gamble," which details the lottery-rigging case of Eddie Tipton.