CDC warns of rising COVID risk in Iowa

By: - May 18, 2022 12:54 pm

The state's infection rate has been rising since late March. (Image by Fotograzia/Getty Images)

For the first time in two months, an Iowa county has a high level of community risk for COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Poweshiek County has that distinction, due to a combination of its infection and hospitalization rates that the CDC uses to characterize the threat of infection. It recommends people wear masks indoors in public places when the threat is high.

Eight other counties have the designation of medium risk, mostly in northern Iowa: Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clay, Dickinson, Floyd, Howard, Johnson and Palo Alto. An update on those threat assessments is expected Thursday.

The state’s rate of infection has been on the rise since late March, and there were an average of about 550 new confirmed coronavirus cases each day in the past week, according to data released Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health.

That infection rate is about 10% of the pandemic peak in January, but it is seven times higher than the lull in late March.

It’s unclear how many new infections are uncounted because people are using free and widely available at-home tests that aren’t tracked by the state.

IDPH reported on Wednesday a total of 3,847 new cases for the past week and 18 new deaths, although it’s unclear when those deaths happened.

Hospitalizations continue to rise. There were 145 people infected by the coronavirus receiving inpatient treatment at Iowa hospitals on Wednesday, a 17% increase from the previous week. Of those 19 were under intensive care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Jared Strong
Jared Strong

Senior reporter Jared Strong has written about Iowans and the important issues that affect them for more than 15 years, previously for the Carroll Times Herald and the Des Moines Register. His investigative work exposing police misconduct has notched several state and national awards. He is a longtime trustee of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, which fights for open records and open government. He is a lifelong Iowan and has lived mostly in rural western parts of the state.

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