Iowa COVID hospitalizations drop sharply; reported cases decline again

By: - August 17, 2022 3:56 pm

COVID-19 infections documented by the state have declined for three straight weeks. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

The number of people infected by COVID-19 who are receiving inpatient treatment at Iowa hospitals declined 24% in the past week, according to federal data.

That marks a significant turnaround from recent weeks, but there have been similar downturns this summer that were quickly erased as hospitalizations have overall trended upward since April.

Those hospitalized with the coronavirus totaled 244 on Wednesday, down from 323 a week ago. Of those currently receiving inpatient treatment, 27 were under intensive care, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

State health officials reported 4,921 new coronavirus cases for the past week on Wednesday in their weekly report. That’s the third straight week that new reported cases have declined since they reached a relative peak for the summer, and they’re down about 17% from that peak.

Those numbers do not include infections identified solely by at-home rapid tests, which are widely available and not recorded by the state.

The Iowa Department of Public Health also reported 32 new COVID-related deaths on Wednesday, a comparable number to previous weeks. It’s unclear when those deaths occurred. The state’s death toll from the virus is now 9,882 people.

The areas with the highest threats of infection are mostly in the northern half of the state, according to the latest U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. The CDC ranks counties low, medium or high based on per-capita hospitalization and infection rates.

One-third of the state’s counties were rated “high” in that report, and about one-quarter were “low,” including Polk County.

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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.