Iowa’s COVID-19 positivity rate is now among the nation’s highest

By: - December 7, 2021 3:54 pm

The average number of new COVID-19 infections in Iowa rose by 55% this past week, and the state now has one of the nation’s worst positivity rates for the virus. (Photo by Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images)

The average number of new COVID-19 infections in Iowa rose by 55% this past week, and the state now has one of the nation’s worst positivity rates for the virus.

According to the Washington Post’s COVID-19 tracker, 16% of those Iowans who were tested for COVID-19 in the past seven days tested positive for the virus. Nationally, the average percentage of people testing positive is half that of Iowa, at 8%, even though the per capita number of tests administered nationally and in Iowa are comparable.

As things stand now, only the states of Michigan, Indiana and New Mexico have a higher positivity rate than the state of Iowa.

The Post’s data also shows that among the 50 states, Iowa currently has the nation’s 12th highest average of new, daily-reported infections: 60 new infections per day for every 100,000 residents — as compared to the national average of 36 new cases per day for every 100,000 residents.

Also, the seven-day average of new infections reported each day in Iowa is 55% higher this week than it was the week before.  Twenty other states saw bigger increases over that same time period, including neighboring Missouri, which was up 77%, and Illinois, which saw a 71% increase. Infections in Nebraska were up 41% over the previous week; Minnesota was up 32%; and Wisconsin was down 24%.

Currently, the Iowa counties with the highest rates of infection are Buena Vista County, Henry County, Wright County, Winnebago County and Crawford County.

Hospitalizations are up slightly in Iowa, increasing by 2% over the previous week. For every 100,000 Iowans, there are 24 now hospitalized with COVID-19 – which is a significantly higher rate of hospitalization than the national average 18 per 100,000 residents.

According to the New York Times, Iowa’s hospitalization numbers are higher now than at any time since Dec. 18, 2020. The seven-day average of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Iowa now stands at 749 – the highest level for the year, and more than five times the seven-day average that was reported in June.

In terms of vaccines, 57% of Iowa’s population is completely vaccinated, as compared to the national average of 60%.

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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.