COVID-19 cases fall in Iowa

Mike Stucka

Iowa reported 7,986 new cases of coronavirus in the week ending Sunday, down 5.7% in the previous week . Then, 8,469 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19 were reported.

Iowa ranked No. 34 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 1,190,227 reported cases of coronavirus, a decrease of -22% from the week before. Across the country, 1 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Across Iowa, cases fell in 54 counties, with the best declines in Johnson, Polk and Story counties.

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The share of Iowa test results that came back positive was 32.2% in the latest week, compared with 33.7% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 18,366 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 18,402. 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.

Within Iowa, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Kossuth, Monona and Montgomery ​counties​. Adding the most new cases overall were Polk County, with 1,445 cases; Scott County, with 485 cases; and Black Hawk County, with 431. Weekly case counts rose in 40 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Dubuque, Black Hawk and Scott counties.

In Iowa, 164 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 185 people were reported dead.

A total of 313,137 people in Iowa have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 4,487 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 25,127,000 people have tested positive and 419,214 people have died.

ICU nurse Abbey Malone asks a COVID-19 patient to wiggle her toes to assess her recovery before removing her breathing tube at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, Iowa, on Dec. 7, 2020.