More than 9,000 Iowans have now tested positive for COVID-19

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IDPH map of COVID-19 by county, May 3, 2020.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported on Sunday that another 528 Iowans have tested positive for COVID-19, including 11 residents of Johnson County and 26 residents of Linn County. There have now been 9,169 confirmed cases of the virus in Iowa.

During the past seven days, IDPH has reported 3,650 new cases of COVID-19, which is approximately 40 percent of all the cases that have been reported in the eight weeks since it was first detected in the state.

Another inmate at Oakdale Prison in Coralville and a staff member of the Clarinda Correctional Facility have tested positive for the virus, according to the Iowa Department of Corrections’ COVID-19 information page.

A total of 19 inmates and six staff members at Oakdale have now tested positive. An inmate at Clarinda tested positive on April 30, and a staff member at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Polk County was confirmed as having the virus on May 1.

Outbreaks of COVID-19 have also been reported at another four long-term care facilities, bringing the total number such outbreaks reported by IDPH to 27. There have been cases of the virus reported by news organizations in other long-term care facilities, but IDPH narrowly defines an outbreak as three or more residents testing positive for the virus.

Although the department is required to report every case of COVID-19 in a long-term care facility –regardless of whether the infected person is a staff member or resident — to federal officials, it only publicly identifies such cases when they meet its definition of an outbreak. Other states, such as Minnesota, report all cases in long-term care facilities to the public.

Another nine Iowans have died from COVID-19, IDPH reported on Sunday.

Newly reported deaths by county

• Black Hawk County, 2 elderly adults (81+)

• Bremer County. 1 elderly adult (81+)

• Dallas County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)

• Dubuque, 1 older adult (61-80 years)

• Polk County, 2 older adults (61-80 years)

• Poweshiek County, 2 elderly adults (81+)

Iowa Capital Dispatch interviewed Dr. Eli Perencevich, professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, on Friday as the restrictions on businesses in 77 counties, and on religious services statewide, began to relax.

“We’re so close,” Perencevich told the Dispatch’s Linh Ta. “We’ve done just an amazing job of sheltering in most areas of the state. A couple more weeks [and] we might have been in a safer place.”

Perencevich was part of the UI team of researchers who prepared a report for IDPH warning that relaxing restrictions might lead to another wave of infections in the state, but was speaking on his own behalf during the interview.

“You want to see a situation that you’re testing a bunch of people and the percent is going down each day,” Perencevich said, describing what would be needed to safely reopen the state. That has not yet happened in Iowa.

But at a press conference on Friday, Gov. Kim Reynolds and IDPH Deputy Director Sarah Reisetter both pointed to a COVID-19 model created by the University of Washington they said indicated Iowa was already past its peak number of COVID-19 cases.

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That model, however, does not project the number of COVID-19 cases in a state, just the number of deaths caused by the virus. The modelers also based their work on the assumption that all the restrictions in place in Iowa as of April 27 would remain in effect until at least June 16.

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