Iowa COVID-19 cases continue to decline from September surge

By: - October 13, 2021 2:28 pm

Iowa’s COVID cases are on the decline, but still significantly higher than they were this summer. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Iowa’s COVID-19 cases continued to decline this week, but the average number of new daily cases remained above 1,000 for the eighth week in a row.

Over the past two weeks, Iowa’s daily COVID-19 cases have declined by 23%, according to the New York Times. There have been an average of 1,222 new cases reported each day. That’s a significant decline from a mid-September rate of over 1,800 new cases a day, but still far above summer rates of under 100 daily cases.

Hospitalizations fell by 10% over the last two weeks. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported Wednesday that 598 Iowans are currently hospitalized for COVID-19. Of those, 150 patients are in the ICU. The majority of COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.

Iowa’s vaccination rate continues to creep up slowly: The Times reports that 55% of all Iowans, including children, are fully vaccinated. Among those eligible to get the vaccine, 64% are fully vaccinated.

There are two fewer long-term care outbreaks today than last week: 29 facilities currently have an outbreak, as of Wednesday. IDPH does not publicly report which facilities have COVID-19 outbreaks.

Cases, hospitalizations fall nationwide but experts warn caution

COVID-19 cases across the U.S. are falling after an early September spike. New cases have fallen by 21% over the last two weeks, according to the Times, and hospitalizations are down 20% in the same period.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects deaths and hospitalizations to fall nationwide over the next month, the department reported Wednesday. 

But Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says daily case numbers are still far higher than they should be, according to CNN. The Times reports that the daily average for new cases nationwide is over 91,000. Fauci said that number should be below 10,000.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former director of the Food and Drug Administration, told CNN on Monday that cases are likely to increase again as the weather gets cold and more people spend time indoors. Iowa saw its worst surge last fall in mid-November.

The CDC recommends everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors in areas with high or substantial community transmission. On Wednesday, all of Iowa’s 99 counties were classified as “high” transmission.

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Reporter Katie Akin began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.