COVID still slowing in Iowa as subvariant looms

By: - January 25, 2023 4:51 pm

This digitally generated image shows different variants of COVID-19 cells. (Image via Getty Images)

The number of documented COVID-19 infections in Iowa continues to decline but at a lesser rate, according to state data.

The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday reported 1,566 new confirmed cases in the past week among those who were not previously infected. That is about a 7% decrease from a week ago.

The department also reported 2,220 total positive tests — a 6% decrease.

Those tests include new infections among those who were previously infected, which the state does not report to federal health officials.

In a report last week, cases and positive tests declined 23% and 15%.

The Midwest hasn’t detected the omicron XBB.1.5 subvariant at the same rate as the Northeast, where it accounts for more than 80% of reported cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The subvariant accounts for less than 10% of cases in a four-state region that includes Iowa.

It is thought to be more transmissible, but current vaccines have been shown to protect against it. And the subvariant has not caused large spikes of infections where it is prevalent, according to data collected by the New York Times.

Among those infected in Iowa, 154 people were receiving inpatient treatment at hospitals on Wednesday, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That is a 13% decrease in hospitalizations from a week ago.

Of those hospitalized Wednesday, 15 were under intensive care.

The state also reported 28 new deaths related to the virus for a total of 10,566 since the start of the pandemic. It’s unclear when the recently reported deaths occurred.

About 80% of Iowa counties have a low risk from the virus, according to a CDC analysis of infection rates and hospitalization data. Elevated risks exist in east-central and far southeast Iowa.

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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.