Iowa COVID hospitalizations rise despite fewer reported cases

Jared Strong
Iowa Capital Dispatch

There were 323 people infected by the coronavirus receiving inpatient treatment at Iowa hospitals on Wednesday — a 30% increase from two weeks ago despite a slight decline of infections reported by the state over that time period, according to state and federal data.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 5,660 new infections in the past week, according to its weekly report. That is a retreat of 4% in the past two weeks from the peak of the summer.

Newly reported infections have become a less accurate indicator of the state of the pandemic as Iowans have foregone tests that are recorded by state officials. They do not track the widely available rapid at-home tests that are supplied by the federal government and retailers.

According to the Des Moines Metropolitan Wastewater Reclamation Authority, the concentrations of the virus in the wastewater of the Des Moines metro area continue to rise and are at their highest levels since February, which marked the conclusion of the state’s largest peak in documented cases for the pandemic.

 Polk County, highlighted, is one of the Iowa counties with a “medium” risk of COVID-19 infection. (Graphic courtesy of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


That metro area has a medium threat of infection, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Less than a quarter of Iowa’s counties have a low threat, a CDC report said late last week.

The CDC rates counties low, medium and high based on their per-capita infection and hospitalization rates, and for the first time since early this year the number of counties with a high threat outnumber those with a low threat.

Of those who were hospitalized on Wednesday, 32 were under intensive care.

The state also reported 33 new deaths on Wednesday, a comparable number to last week’s report. A total of 9,850 people infected by the coronavirus have died in Iowa since the start of the pandemic.


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