Iowa surpassed its previous high single-day coronavirus death toll on Dec. 3, 2020. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

UPDATE Dec. 4, 2020: One day after Iowa reported a jump in coronavirus deaths, the state reported another record high single-day death toll on Dec. 4, with 84 COVID-19 deaths, bringing the state’s total to 2,603 Iowans who have died since the start of the pandemic. Public health officials are pleading with Iowans to wear a mask anytime you’re in public and to stay at home if you can to save lives.

Iowa hit a grim record on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, with 70 coronavirus deaths reported in a single day.

At the same time, the state hit a record high of 169 nursing home outbreaks; representing well over one-third of the state’s 432 long-term care facilities and up substantially from 22 outbreaks at the beginning of August.

Because of the method the state uses to track deaths, not all of the patients died within 24 hours, but reflects the highest number of deaths reported in a single day. The previous high single-day death toll was 47 on Nov. 25.

So far, 2,519 Iowans have died of COVID-19 since late March, as reported by the state.

Governor Kim Reynolds provided information on proposed vaccine distribution during a press conference on Dec. 3.

Reynolds said 172,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna are scheduled to arrive in Iowa by the end of December. Two doses per person, either 21 or 28 days apart, are needed to be effective.

First doses will go to hospitals for their workforce and for nursing home residents and staff, said Kelly Garcia, director of the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Garcia said vaccine could be available for all Iowans by mid-2021.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by 2,926 on Dec. 3, for a total of 236,792.

As of Dec. 3, over the past 24 hours, 1,124 Iowans were hospitalized for COVID-19; 224 were in intensive care units and 131 were on ventilators.

In the past 24 hours, 136 patients have been admitted in Iowa for COVID-19. Public health experts had warned against travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, but many Americans did so anyway, with hospitalizations and deaths predicted to increase in coming weeks.

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