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Iowa’s COVID infection rate wanes but hospitalizations rise


Iowa’s COVID infection rate wanes but hospitalizations rise

Mar 22, 2023 | 2:37 pm ET
By Jared Strong
Iowa’s COVID infection rate wanes but hospitalizations rise
The number of reported infections has declined for two straight weeks. (Photo by Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images)

There was an 11% increase last week in the number of people infected by the coronavirus who are receiving inpatient treatment at Iowa hospitals despite declining, documented infection rates, according to state and federal data.

About 166 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized on any given day last week, up from 149 the week before, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

That increase belies a two-week stretch of declining infections recorded by state health officials. On Wednesday, the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,677 new infections for the past week among people who were not previously infected. That was a 4% decrease from the week prior.

The state also reported 2,247 total positive tests — an 8% decrease. Those test results include reinfections among people who had already contracted the disease earlier in the pandemic. The state does not report those reinfections to federal health officials.

On Wednesday the state also reported 27 deaths related to COVID-19 infections for a total of 10,769 since the start of the pandemic. It’s unclear when those deaths occurred.

The threat of the virus is low in about two-thirds of Iowa’s counties, according to a CDC analysis of infection and hospitalization rates. Counties with a medium threat are mainly located in an area that stretches from east-central to northern Iowa, along with pockets of counties in northwest and southwest Iowa.