COVID-19 cases remain high in Iowa, hospitalizations drop slightly

Published: Dec. 24, 2021 at 11:30 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - In the last update before Christmas, COVID-19 cases trended slightly up in Iowa while the number of people in the hospital remained high but continued a slow drop.

The data from the Iowa Department of Public Health showed 9,630 new positive tests over the past week, up from 9,087 from the previous week. The 14-day test positivity rate for COVID-19 fell slightly to 10.7%, down from 11.1% last week and a high of 12.1% two weeks ago. The CDC reports community spread of COVID-19 in Iowa remains high in all 99 counties, its highest level of transmission.

The State Hygienic Lab, which conducts most tests in the state, will close for Christmas. That could lead to a lag in test reporting next week.

The number of people with COVID-19 in Iowa hospitals fell slightly to 724, down from 810 the week before. It’s the fourth day of declines in hospitalizations since a high of 823 on December 15th.

The unvaccinated continue to account for the vast majority of those COVID-19 patients in the hospital and ICU in Iowa. 81.6% of COVID-19 patients in the hospital and 85.5% of COVID-19 patients in the ICU are unvaccinated. Studies have shown those who are vaccinated against COVID-19 and have received the booster dose are far less likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19.

Studies on the Omicron variant suggest it may cause less severe illnesses than other variants, particularly for those who have been vaccinated.

Iowa reported 119 deaths from COVID-19 in the past week of data the state has made available, pushing the total known deaths from COVID-19 to 7,799. For comparison, Iowa has reported 2 total deaths so far this flu season after reporting 6 all of last season and 103 in the 2019-2020 flu season.

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