Additional update Nov. 7, 2020: Iowa has broken additional coronavirus records in the past 24 hours, with 92 nursing home outbreaks; 194 patients hospitalized in intensive care units and 165 new hospital admissions, all record highs. Also, Jones County hit a 41.2 percent 14-day positivity rate, the highest of 79 (out of 99) Iowa counties at or above 15 percent.
UPDATE Nov. 6, 2020: Iowa has already surpassed its hospitalizations record, with 912 patients hospitalized in the last 24 hours with COVID-19, and its record of nursing home outbreaks, now at 87. Deaths statewide are at 1,815, with 880 of those tied to long-term care facilities.
Iowa has surpassed the 1 million mark in coronavirus tests as of Nov. 5, 2020, while COVID-19 hospitalizations have reached another record high and show no signs of slowing.
The escalating numbers are unsurprising, as public health experts have repeatedly warned that Iowa faces a grim winter if changes are not implemented.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds remains one of the U.S. governor holdouts to never implement a mask mandate, even in the face of warnings from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, which has pointed to the connection between community outbreaks and deaths.
Reynolds held a press conference Nov. 5, after avoiding such events for weeks, as she traveled throughout the state attending Republican campaign events leading up to the Nov. 3 election, in which face masks were optional.
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“I’m going to do my part to make sure Iowans get the message,” Reynolds said, announcing an ad campaign that will launch next week to remind Iowans of steps they can take to control the virus.
She cited the election, in which Iowans overwhelmingly returned Republicans to control, as an indication of Iowans’ approval of her handling of the pandemic.
“Iowans said in this election they agree with how we’ve handled COVID-19,” Reynolds said.
As of Nov. 5, 1,005,088 Iowans had been tested for COVID-19, with 140,609 confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. The 4,562 new cases represent a record high for a 24-hour period.
During the same period, 20 more Iowans have died, bringing the state’s total to 1,801 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
Records were set in hospitalizations, with 839 reported, and 188 patients in intensive care units, another record high. Iowa set a daily record on Nov. 4, with 164 patients admitted during a 24-hour period, and nursing home outbreaks continue a third day of record numbers, with 84 outbreaks. That compares to 22 outbreaks at long-term care facilities in early August.
Most tellingly for the state, after hovering around a dozen or so counties with a 14-day average of 15 percent or more positive coronavirus cases in September, 72 counties — more than two-thirds of the state’s 99 counties — have now hit that average.
The highest on Nov. 5 was Wayne County, in southern Iowa, at 33.6 percent.
Every person who has died of COVID-19 has a name. Read about one family’s heartbreak after COVID-19 took their sister’s life.