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Virus infections continue rapid spread in Iowa



Coronavirus infections continued a rapid spread across Iowa, pushing hospitalizations and patients in intensive care to new highs as Iowa medical centers prepared for an onslaught of patients.

Iowa public health officials reported 3,533 new confirmed cases Friday and 14 more deaths. The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Iowa has risen over the past two weeks from 27% on Oct. 22 to nearly 42% on Nov. 5, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers, keeping Iowa’s rate second in the nation behind South Dakota.

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals reached a new high of 912 and those in intensive care units remained at the highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic at 188.

Officials at the state’s largest hospital systems are warning Iowans that if the current infection rate continues, they will be overwhelmed with patients.

Their preparations for the surge are forcing them to curtail other medical procedures, shift personnel from surgical duties to intensive care and expand ICU beds.

“We cannot outrun this. There truly is no other option at this point. It very simply comes down to avoiding others,” said Dr. Nicole Gilg, chief of the primary care clinic section at Broadlawns Medical Center in Des Moines.

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