Iowa hospitalizations due to COVID-19 up 32% in two weeks

By: - August 30, 2021 4:49 pm

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are up 32% in Iowa over the past two weeks. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The spread of COVID-19 continues to accelerate in Iowa, with more than 2,600 new cases recorded on Saturday.

Hospitalizations are also on the rise, increasing by 32% over the past 14 days, according to the New York Times. Only seven other states saw a bigger percentage increase in hospitalizations over the past week, according to the Washington Post.

According to the Times, the number of new infections reported Saturday was 2,643. That represents an increase of more than 20% from the previous Saturday’s total of 2,197, and extends a month-long trend of steadily increasing infections in Iowa.

Saturday’s total of 2,643 new cases was Iowa’s highest single-day tally in nine months, since the November 2020 surge.

Throughout August, the trend line for new infections in Iowa has been climbing sharply. The seven-day average of these new cases, which tends to be a more reliable measure of trends than single-day tallies, is also on a sharp upward trajectory. On July 9, the seven-day average was 39 new cases per day; today, the average is almost 28 times higher, at 1,080 new cases per day.

According to the Post, new, daily-reported cases are up 27.2% in Iowa over the past week. New, daily-reported deaths, while still in the single digits, are up 200%, and COVID-19 hospitalizations in Iowa are up 15.9%.

Iowa’s positivity rate is 14.8%, which is close to the national average.

Adjusted for population, only 14 other states currently have a higher number of infections than Iowa, which presently has 12,764 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the Post.

Iowa’s seven-day average of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 is also climbing, and stands at 643, a 16% increase from last week. Only seven other states saw a bigger percentage increase in hospitalizations over the past week, according to the Post.

Over the past 14 days, the Iowa counties that have seen the biggest gains in the average number of new cases each day are Lyon, Audubon, Montgomery, Tama and Davis counties. Each of those counties posted gains of 300% to 733%.

Despite the current rapid rate of increased infections, the raw number of newly infected Iowans remains far less than last November, when Iowa sometimes topped 4,000 new cases per day.

The daily average of  new COVID-19 cases in Iowa, now at 1,080, represents a 45% increase over the past two weeks.

Statewide, slightly more than 51% of Iowans are fully vaccinated, which places Iowa close to the national average. There are 22 states with a higher percentage of fully vaccinated residents.

The Iowa counties that have the lowest percentage of fully vaccinated residents are: Davis County, at 31%; Decatur County at 34%; and Lyon Sioux, Wayne and Van Buren counties at 35%.

The Iowa counties with the highest percentage of fully vaccinated residents are Johnson County, at 62%; Linn County at 56%; and Boone, Polk, and Dubuque counties at 55%.

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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.