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Iowa COVID-19 hospitalizations top 600 for another record, with 97% of state in hot zone



The number of people being treated for COVID-19 in Iowa hospitals set a record Thursday — for the fourth day in a row — as federal public health officials again implored the state to more aggressively respond to the worsening threat.

According to state public health data analyzed at 11 a.m. Thursday, 605 people were being treated for COVID-19 in Iowa hospitals — more than at any time since the disease was confirmed here in March.

The state had not updated its county-by-county hospitalizations, but the northeast Iowa region that includes Linn County showed 135 virus patients hospitalized with 891 total beds available, and the southeast Iowa region that includes Johnson County showed 263 virus patients hospitalized and over 1,000 beds still available.

“Only 11 percent of all current hospitalizations across the state are related to COVID-19,” said a statement provided to The Gazette from Pat Garrett, spokesman for Gov. Kim Reynolds. “Of those hospitalized with the virus, more than 70 percent are over the age of 60. Treatment for COVID-19 has improved significantly since earlier this year. New therapeutics such as Remdesivir and other treatments have helped reduce the severity of illness and shorten hospital stays for many patients.”

Of the record 605 COVID-19 patients, the number in intensive care inched down from 136 to 135 Thursday, but the number using ventilators to help breathe rose from 51 to 56.

In the statement, the governor’s office said that it is in regular contact with health systems around the state.

“At this time, hospitals are reporting that they are able to manage the increased number of patients, and are prepared to implement surge plans to expand capacity if necessary,” the statement said.

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