Iowa reports 69 additional deaths and 1,757 new COVID-19 infections

By: - December 31, 2020 2:31 pm

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

Another 1,757 coronavirus infections were reported in Iowa on Thursday, along with 69 additional deaths.

The data, from the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Washington Post’s COVID-19 tracker, shows that over the past week, there has been an average of 1,136 cases per day, a decrease of 34% from the average two weeks earlier.

However, data from the New York Times indicates the number of tests for the virus in Iowa continues to drop precipitously. The seven-day average of Iowans tested each day now stands at 1,912 — the lowest level since the first week of May, according to the Times’ data. In mid-November, the seven-day average of tests in Iowa was 7,090 per day.

Iowa continues to rank among the states with the worst rates of infection. Currently, only North Dakota and  South Dakota have higher per capita rates of infection than Iowa, which has reported 8,948 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 residents.

Some of the data suggests the recent decrease in new cases in Iowa isn’t entirely attributable to decreased testing. Hospitalizations, for example, have also dropped in December, according to the state public health department.

The agency reported on Thursday that 600 Iowans were hospitalized with the virus — a sharp decrease from the 1,162 hospitalized on Dec. 1. Also on Thursday, 134 Iowans were reported to be in intensive care units with COVID-19, which is almost half the number reported four weeks ago.

Currently, there are 114 Iowa nursing homes with active outbreaks. Those outbreaks involve a total of 4,829 staffer or residents who have tested positive for the virus.

In early December, the were 138 current, active outbreaks in Iowa nursing homes, involving 5,442 infections.

As of Thursday afternoon, there have been at least 280,067 cases of COVID-19 and 3,822 deaths in Iowa since the beginning of the pandemic.


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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.