COVID-19 cases surge 34.9% in Iowa
New coronavirus cases leaped in Iowa in the week ending Saturday, rising 34.9% as 12,276 cases were reported. The previous week had 9,102 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Iowa ranked No. 33 among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest week the United States added 1,698,484 reported cases of coronavirus, an increase of 18% from the week before. Across the country, 46 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.
Testing has changed around the holidays, making comparisons difficult. Labs and testing sites closed. People traveled or prepared for the holidays instead of getting tested. Some counties and states didn't report data as quickly.
Within Iowa, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Monroe, Washington and Ringgold counties. Adding the most new cases overall were Polk County, with 2,041 cases; Scott County, with 687 cases; and Linn County, with 576. Weekly case counts rose in 83 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Polk, Scott and Linn counties.
The share of Iowa test results that came back positive was 43.7% in the latest week, compared with 43.4% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 19,616 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 14,240. Experts say it is important to look at the share of tests that come back positive, not just case counts, to get a better idea of whether the rate of new infections is changing or if differences in testing are playing a role.
The World Health Organization says places should be conducting enough tests to have fewer than 5% coming back positive. Places where the percentage is higher could struggle to complete contact tracing soon enough to prevent spread of the virus.
Across Iowa, cases fell in 16 counties, with the best declines in Kossuth, Cass and Montgomery counties.
In Iowa, 181 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Saturday. In the week before that, 203 people were reported dead.
A total of 296,171 people in Iowa have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 4,127 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 22,132,396 people have tested positive and 372,428 people have died.