COVID-19 testing increases alongside new cases

Travis Fischer

Governor Kim Reynolds adjusted the Public Health Disaster Emergency restrictions this week as new COVID-19 cases increase in Iowa. As of Friday, June 12, the 50% occupancy limit on businesses has been lifted, though all other social distancing requirements, such as keeping people six feet apart, continue to remain in place through June 25.

“Eliminating the capacity restrictions will allow businesses the flexibility to adjust their specific operations accordingly to best meet the needs of their employees and customers,” said Reynolds. “We know that COVID-19 will remain in our communities for a while, but we also know what we can do to effectively mitigate, manage, and contain it while we safely and responsibly move forward with life.”

Though Reynolds has continued to ease up on public health restrictions, each lifted restriction has come with a reiteration of the importance of abiding by recommended safety measures, such as wearing masks, frequent washing, and avoiding unnecessary public gatherings, particularly for Iowans with greater health risks.

“It remains just as important now as it was three months ago that every Iowan continues to do their part to protect their health and the health of others.” As of Sunday, June 14, there have been 23,920 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, increasing the 21,635 total from the week prior. The 2,285 new cases reported since last Sunday shows a slight increase from the previous week.

Approximately 8,900 of the confirmed cases are currently fighting the disease, up 500 from the previous week, with 203 people hospitalized and 77 people in an ICU. In total, an estimated 957 elderly (age 80+), 3,110 older adults (61-80); 8,133 middle aged adults (41-60), 10,525 young adults (18- 40), and 957 children (0-17) have tested positive for the disease. It should be noted that these estimates are based on a percentage-based breakdown of reported positive cases. As the total number of cases increase, the less accurate these estimates will become. A single percentage point difference can change the estimate by more than 200 cases.

Current testing shows that roughly 64% of positive cases result in symptoms while 12% of those testing positive have been asymptomatic.

26,080 Iowans have also undergone serology testing for coronavirus antibodies, indicating that they have had the virus. Of that number, 2,101, about 8%, have tested positive for antibodies.

The death rate of the virus continues its downward trajectory. With 48 additional deaths last week, bringing the total to 652, the number of weekly deaths has dropped by more than half over the last month.

Of the fatal cases, approximately 306 have been elderly, 267 have been older adults, 65 have been middle aged, and 13 have been young adults. More than half of the deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Iowa, 341 in total, resulted from outbreaks in long term care facilities.

The total number of Iowa facilities with active outbreaks dropped to 36 this week, bringing the current number of positive cases down to 1,318. Testing capabilities continue to increase, with five new Test Iowa sites announced this week. Test Iowa currently supports ten testing sites and seven clinics across the state. With the state completing an average of 5,297 tests per day over the last week, a total of 225,010 Iowans have been tested since the start of the pandemic.



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