Iowa’s daily COVID cases up nearly 1,700% since late June

By: - September 3, 2021 1:42 pm

Des Moines Public Schools and MercyOne held their first vaccination clinic for teachers and staff on Saturday, Feb. 6. (Photo courtesy of Des Moines Public Schools)

The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in Iowa has risen 1,698% since late June, New York Times data show.

On June 25, that figure stood at 66 cases a day. The state was averaging 1,187 cases a day, as of Thursday.

The Times reported Iowa’s daily average for new cases rose 46% in the past two weeks. Hospitalizations increased by 29%, to 618 on Thursday. The state is averaging six COVID-related deaths a day. 

Iowa tops 6,300 COVID deaths

Since the pandemic began, Iowa has recorded 441,889 COVID cases and 6,307 related deaths, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds on Thursday stressed the effectiveness of vaccinations. She continued to leave that decision, and the choice of whether to wear a mask in public, up to families. 

The Iowa Department of Public Health on Thursday announced it would update its online COVID-19 statistics on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, instead of once a week. In the earlier months of the pandemic, the state updated figures nearly hour by hour.

The state site updates hospitalization data on Thursdays. As of Thursday, Polk County had 76 COVID patients in hospitals, Linn 54, Black Hawk 26, Scott 19 and Dubuque and Johnson, 15 each.  

Nursing home outbreaks may be underreported

There are at least 14 Iowa nursing homes with COVID-19 outbreaks this week involving a combined 98 infections, the health department reported. Only two of the homes had outbreaks three weeks ago.

Because of lags in the state reporting data from nursing homes, at times in recent days the health department has reported only half the outbreaks. A spokesperson on Friday said the department would look into the discrepancy.

Vaccination data varies

Iowa has seen a small uptick in the percentage of residents who are fully vaccinated. That number now stands at 52%, according to the Times. As of Thursday, 88% of those age 65 or older were vaccinated, the newspaper reported. 

The state health department reported 49.2% of Iowans were fully vaccinated as of Thursday. Previously, state health officials have said newspapers sometimes are pulling from federal databases not reflected in the state figures.

The nation has recorded 39.6 million cases and 644,000 COVID-related deaths since the pandemic began, the Washington Post reported.

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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.