Iowa hospitalizations at new high as virus spreads broadly

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Record numbers of people are being treated in Iowa hospitals for the coronavirus as the illness spreads across the state, according to statistics released Monday.

The number of people hospitalized with the virus increased to 561 Monday, and a 14-county area of southeast Iowa reported record hospital admissions, patients in hospitals and patients in intensive care units.

State data shows only one of Iowa’s 99 counties has a 14-day positivity rate under 5%, a rate at which many public health officials recommend mitigation such as mask wearing, social distancing and crowd limit requirements. Seventeen counties have a rate above 15%.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has rejected mask mandates and has lifted other measures intended to slow the virus. Reynolds typically holds a weekly news conference focused on the pandemic, but she hasn’t held such a meeting for more than two weeks.

Iowa had 677 new confirmed cases Monday and two additional deaths for a total of 1,636.

Weekend numbers continued last week’s high new case numbers and deaths. The state posted more than 3,000 new confirmed cases Saturday and Sunday and 17 additional deaths. In the week since Oct. 19, nearly 100 people have died with coronavirus infections in Iowa.