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Iowa virus cases soar as state 2nd in US behind South Dakota

November 3, 2020 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s rate of positive coronavirus cases moved up to second in the nation on Tuesday behind only South Dakota, according to data compiled by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Iowa has risen over the past two weeks from 25.5% on Oct. 19 to 37.4% on Nov. 2. Only South Dakota has a higher average rate, at 50.6%.

The 730 people being treated Tuesday at Iowa hospitals for coronavirus infections also was a record. State health officials also reported 84 long—term care facilities with outbreaks.

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The number of counties with a positivity rate above 15% reached a new peak at 55. All 99 Iowa counties have a rate of 7.5% or above.

The state posted 1,516 new confirmed cases and 22 deaths, bringing the total to 133,229 cases and 1,755 deaths.

Iowa hospital officials and doctors are warning that unless Iowans wear masks, socially distance, avoid crowds and get a flu shot, deaths and hospitalizations will continue to rise, possibly overwhelming hospitals.

The pace of deaths in Iowa also has accelerated in the past few weeks. In the past week, Iowa reported 103 coronavirus, and in October there were 370 reported deaths.

Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday announced she would spent an extra $28 million on relief to hospitals and county health departments that are struggling amid increased coronavirus cases. Reynolds, who has declined to institute new restrictions in response to the virus surge such as a mask mandate, is expected to discuss the situation later in the week after spending much of her time recently campaigning for Republican candidates.