With 53,000 Iowans having received the vaccine, new infections rise almost 20%

By: - January 4, 2021 12:36 pm

A medical worker holds a swab used to test for COVID-19. (Photo by Mladen Sladojevic/Getty Images)

Another 1,121 new cases of coronavirus were reported in Iowa on Sunday, according to the Washington Post.

In the past week, the number of newly reported cases in Iowa has risen 19.8%, according to the Post’s data, while the number of deaths reported each day in Iowa has increased 31.8%.

Iowa now ranks sixth in the nation in terms of the total number of infections during the pandemic, with 9,075 cases per 100,000 residents. Only North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Tennessee and Wisconsin have compiled a higher rate of infection.

While data from both the New York Times and the Washington Post show zero virus-related deaths in Iowa on Sunday, that number conflicts with data from the Iowa Department of Public Health. IDPH is reporting 46 deaths, but only 601 newly confirmed cases of the virus, on Sunday.

Because of the conflicting numbers, and the state’s changing methodology in counting and reporting some of the daily data, the seven-day averages of newly reported infections and deaths — which show now show a sharp upward trend in the Post’s data — are likely to provide a more reliable gauge of the virus’ activity in Iowa.

Public health officials also look to the state’s positivity rate, which is the percentage of the tested Iowans who have been shown to be positive for the virus. Iowa’s positivity rate now stands at almost 45%, according to the Post.

The Post bases that number on tests taken during the past seven days, while IDPH, which is reporting a positivity rate of just 13.3%, bases its calculations on tests taken during the previous 14 days.

The Post’s data also indicates that at present more than 53,000 Iowans, or 1.7% of the state’s population, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

IDPH reported Monday that 571 Iowans were hospitalized with the virus, a decrease from the 600 reported last Thursday and a significant reduction from the 1,162 reported on Dec. 1.

Also on Monday, IDPH reported that 117 Iowans were in intensive care units with the virus on Monday, which is down from the 134 reported on Thursday, and less than half the number reported four weeks ago.

Currently, there are 105 Iowa nursing homes with active outbreaks that involve a total of 4,370 staffers or residents who have tested positive for the virus. Those numbers are down considerably from last Thursday, when IDPH reported 114 nursing home outbreaks involving 4,829 workers and residents.

As of Monday afternoon, there have been at least 284,715 infections and 3,946 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.