New COVID-19 cases plummet in Iowa

Mike Stucka

Iowa reported far fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Sunday, adding 5,182 new cases. That's down 17.4% from the previous week's toll of 6,271 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Iowa ranked No. 32 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 817,934 reported cases of coronavirus, a decrease of -21.3% from the week before. Across the country, 3 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Across Iowa, cases fell in 70 counties, with the best declines in Linn, Black Hawk and Scott counties.

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The share of Iowa test results that came back positive was 26.4% in the latest week, compared with 25.2% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 14,473 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 18,629. 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 Howard, Clarke and Ringgold ​counties​. Adding the most new cases overall were Polk County, with 1,089 cases; Linn County, with 346 cases; and Scott County, with 271. Weekly case counts rose in 25 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week's pace were in Johnson, Marshall and Mills counties.

In Iowa, 207 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 414 people were reported dead.

A total of 324,590 people in Iowa have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 5,108 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 27,004,715 people have tested positive and 463,437 people have died.

The Rev. Mark Van Koevering receives his COVID-19 vaccination in the rotunda of the Kentucky State Capitol on Thursday, February 4, 2021. Gov. Andy Beshear sought to gather faith leaders from across the state to get vaccinations so they will encourage their congregations to do the same when it's offered. He got his vaccine from Michelle Searcy from the Franklin County Health Department.