COVID cases jump 30% in Iowa; hospitalizations up

By: - July 13, 2022 1:42 pm

Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 infection are up 20% compared to last week. (Image by Andriy Onufriyenko/Getty Images)

The state’s COVID-19 infection rate increased significantly in the past week when there were 5,187 new confirmed cases, a 30% jump from the week prior, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health’s weekly update on Wednesday.

The increase snapped a two-month streak in which new cases hovered near the 4,000-per-week mark. It was the most cases recorded in one week in the state this summer and is more than 10 times the infection rate of the lull of late March. However, the latest rate is one-tenth that of the January peak.

Those numbers do not include infections that are identified by at-home rapid tests, which are not recorded by the state. The concentration of the coronavirus in wastewater indicates new cases might be severely undercounted.

The number of people who are infected and receiving inpatient treatment at Iowa hospitals also increased to 229 as of Wednesday, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That is a 20% jump from the week before.

Of those hospitalized, 23 are under intensive care.

The latest state data show that counties with the highest positive test rates per capita are dispersed throughout the state, with notable pockets of higher rates in west-central, far northern and eastern Iowa.

Carroll County has had the largest increase of documented infections in the past two weeks, according to a New York Times analysis. The county had an elevated threat of infection in a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report late last week.

That report — which is set to be updated Thursday — said Carroll was among 22 counties with a “medium” threat level. The CDC classified counties as low, medium or high risk based on their per-capita infection and hospitalization rates.

Johnson and Winneshiek counties were the only two ranked “high” in last week’s report. Those classified as medium were: Appanoose, Benton, Carroll, Cedar, Davis, Dubuque, Iowa, Jackson, Jefferson, Jones, Keokuk, Linn, Louisa, Lyon, Mahaska, Mills, Monroe, O’Brien, Osceola, Wapello, Washington and Van Buren.

A newer subvariant of the omicron variant — known as BA.5 — now accounts for about two-thirds of infections in the United States, according to CDC estimates. It surpassed the 50% threshold last week.

The state also reported 15 new deaths of Iowans who were infected by the virus, for a total of 9,718 since the start of the pandemic.

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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.