Iowa coronavirus hospitalizations top 700, new yearly high

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa hospitalizations from the coronavirus have reached a high for this year with 721 people being treated in hospitals, according to data reported by state public health officials Wednesday.

The last time hospitalizations reached that level was mid-December 2020 when the state was coming down from the historic peak of COVID-19 activity in November. Hospitalizations peaked at more than 1,500 patients in mid-November 2020.

Iowa Department of Public Health data indicates 10 children age 11 or younger are in the hospital. All are unvaccinated. An additional unvaccinated child between ages 12 and 17 is hospitalized.

As of Nov. 2, children as young as 5 could be vaccinated.

Just under 17% of Iowa children between ages 5 to 11 have received a dose of the Pfizer pediatric vaccine, said IDPH spokeswoman Sarah Ekstrand. She said 47,494 children in the state have received the first shot. The state has an estimated 284,000 children in that age group.

Iowa’s statewide seven-day positivity rate increased to 11.9%, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said all of the state’s 99 counties have a high level of community spread.

Testing revealed 8,221 COVID-19 confirmed cases in the last seven days with 18% of cases among children age 17 or younger.

The state also confirmed 91 additional deaths in the past week, with some dating back to mid-September. Iowa officials report a total of 7,445 COVID-19 deaths.

The CDC ranks the Iowa death rate in the past seven days of 3.2 deaths per 100,000 people as 17th highest in the nation. The Iowa case rate also is 17th at 319.3 cases per 100,000 in the past week.