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COVID-19: Another 368 Iowans test positive, Johnson County’s surge continues and cases at Fort Dodge prison more than double in a week


Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported another 368 Iowans tested positive for COVID-19 during the 24-hour period ending at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

The new cases brought the state’s total to 35,830, according to IDPH.

The statewide positivity rate — the percentage of people tested who were confirmed as having COVID-19 — was 8.8 percent from 10 a.m. on Monday to 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Tuesday’s positivity rate is more than 10 percent lower than what was reported on Monday at 10 a.m. and is closer to what the state has been seeing. Last week’s seven-day average positivity rate was 9 percent.

Johnson County saw its 28th consecutive day of double-digit increases in confirmed cases of the virus, with IDPH reporting an increase of 12 cases during the 24-hour period. Tuesday’s increase is the second-lowest daily increase since the current surge began on June 17 with an increase of 11 cases.

The positivity rate in Johnson County from 10 a.m. on Monday to 10 a.m. on Tuesday was 7.2 percent. The county’s total number of confirmed cases is 1,492, according to IDPH.

IDPH reported 18 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Linn County during the same period, bringing the county’s total to 1,418. The positivity rate during the 24-hour period ending at 10 a.m. on Tuesday was 6.3 percent.

IDPH reported another three Iowans have died, increasing the state’s COVID-19 death toll to 755.

A total of 26,899 Iowans have recovered from the virus. A total of 874 Johnson County residents and 1,153 Linn County residents have recovered.

IDPH changed how it counts recovered cases at the end of last month. The department now considers anyone who tests positive to be recovered after 28 days unless the department is informed otherwise.

The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found that recovery statistics across the country are “incomplete, inconsistent and call into question the accuracy of any total number of recovered cases.” Part of this is due to how the definition of recovered varies widely from state to state.

Fort Dodge prison continues to experience outbreak

In early July, the Iowa Department of Corrections (IDOC) confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility and began conducting extensive testing.

A total of 61 inmates and five staff at the facility were positive for the virus as of July 7. IDOC also posted an update the same day that an incarcerated individual has died due to COVID-19. This was the first virus-related death of someone in one of Iowa’s prisons.

A week later, on July 14, confirmed cases at the prison have more than doubled. There are now 186 inmates and 16 staff who have tested positive for the virus. This is the largest outbreak in one of Iowa’s prisons.

IDOC said in a news release on Monday that a second incarcerated individual at Fort Dodge has died but the cause of death has not been determined yet. The state medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to examine if COVID-19 was a factor in his death, according to IDOC.

The ACLU and Prison Policy Initiative published a report in late June grading each state’s response to COVID-19 in jails and prisons.

The report looked at if testing and personal protective equipment was provided for staff and inmates, if data on confirmed cases is easy to access, if the prison population was reduced and steps the state’s governor or Department of Corrections took.

Iowa, along with 40 other states, received some sort of F. (Iowa received an F+.) The highest grade earned was a D-.


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