New COVID-19 cases plummet in Iowa

Mike Stucka
USA TODAY NETWORK

Iowa reported far fewer coronavirus cases in the week ending Sunday, adding 4,111 new cases. That's down 86.4% from the previous week's toll of 30,267 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Iowa ranked 22nd 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 471,554 reported cases of coronavirus, a decrease of 3.7% from the week before. Across the country, 29 states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.

Iowa changed how it reports cases, moving from individual people to positive test results. That added about 27,000 new cases to the rolls, Johns Hopkins University says.

Across Iowa, cases fell in 99 counties, with the best declines in Polk, Black Hawk and Scott counties.

>> See how your community has fared with recent coronavirus cases

The share of Iowa test results that came back positive was 20.3% in the latest week, compared with 13.2% in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of COVID Tracking Project data shows. In the latest week, 13,658 tests were administered; a week earlier, that figure was 19,179. 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 Jasper, Wapello and Buena Vista counties. Adding the most new cases overall were Polk County, with 861 cases; Dallas County, with 202 cases; and Linn County, with 191.

In Iowa, 135 people were reported dead of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday. In the week before that, 100 people were reported dead.

A total of 363,636 people in Iowa have tested positive for the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and 5,471 people have died from the disease, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the United States 28,605,669 people have tested positive and 513,091 people have died.

Kim Mason, left, receives her second COVID-19 vaccine from medical assistant Teone Fjeld at the soon-to-open Coquille Indian Tribe medical clinic in Eugene, Oregon.