More than 100,000 Iowans have now tested positive for COVID-19

IDPH map of COVID-19 cases by county, Oct. 12, 2020.

The number of Iowans who have tested positive for COVID-19 since it was first detected in the state on March 8 surpassed 100,000 over the weekend. At 10 a.m. Monday, the Iowa Department of Public Health was reporting 100,052 confirmed cases of the virus, an increase of 3,011 cases since 10 a.m. on Friday.

Among the newly reported cases in that 72-hour period were 73 residents of Johnson County and 102 residents of Linn County.

During that same time period, IDPH reported another 31 deaths from the virus, which brought Iowa’s COVID-19 death toll to 1,464. Among those whose deaths reported between 10 a.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Monday were four residents of Linn County.

Twenty-nine residents of Johnson County and 121 residents of Linn County have died from COVID-19, according to IDPH.

IDPH lists 76,500 Iowans as having recovered following a confirmed COVID-19 infection. In June, the department changed its definition of recovered for reporting purposes. Before the change, IDPH did not list people as recovered until it confirmed their status. Now, anyone who tests positive for the virus is automatically listed as recovered after 28 days, unless IDPH is informed otherwise.

The surge in new cases centered in northwestern Iowa and other rural areas continued on Monday. According to IDPH, 17 counties had 14-day average positivity rates of 15 percent or higher in their COVID-19 tests as of Monday morning. The WHO and CDC recommend 14-day average positivity rates of 5 percent or lower before an area relaxes COVID-19 restrictions.

On Monday, only six of Iowa’s 99 counties had 14-day average positivity rates of 5 percent or less, according to IDPH. Johnson County’s 14-day average was 5.1 percent, and Linn County’s 14-day average was 6.2 percent.

During her press conference last week, Gov. Kim Reynolds said she had no plans to take any new actions to mitigate or contain the spread of COVID-19. The governor said her administration would continue to remind people to follow existing guidelines regarding hygiene and encourage Iowans to practice social distancing.

“We can’t let COVID-19 dominate our lives,” Reynolds said, explaining her position but echoing a recent statement by President Trump. “And that’s exactly why we’ve taken the steps we have these last seven months to balance both the lives and livelihoods of Iowans.”

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