A chalk drawing at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, shows support for medical workers. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

Another update Oct. 23, 2020: Iowa set a record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 536 reported, and another new high on Oct. 24, with 545 hospitalized. Also on Oct. 24, Iowa set a record for hospital admissions, with 101 patients admitted to hospitals during the past 24 hours.

Further update Oct. 22, 2020: Iowa has again surpassed its nursing home outbreak record, which now stands at 70.

UPDATE Oct. 21, 2020: Iowa set new records, with 534 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, the highest since the beginning of the pandemic, and an additional 31 deaths in the past 24 hours, another record, bringing the state’s total to 1,579 deaths as of 10 a.m. Additionally, the number of nursing home outbreaks increased to 68, breaking the previous day’s record of 65. Eleven deaths were tied to long-term care facilities in the past 24 hours, now totaling 787.

Iowa hit new COVID-19 records on Oct. 20, in both hospitalizations and in the number of nursing home outbreaks. As of 10 a.m., the state reported 108,297 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 1,548 deaths, up 14 deaths in just one day.

More: Iowa surpasses 1,500 coronavirus deaths

At the same time, Iowa surpassed 500 coronavirus hospitalizations, with 501 reported — a new state record — and 122 in the intensive care unit.

The state also reported a new high Oct. 20 of 65 nursing home outbreaks. The outbreak number had been on the decline over the summer, with 22 as of Aug. 1, but has been on the increase since then, even as Governor Kim Reynolds has ignored repeated recommendations from health experts to issue a face mask mandate to curb the number of outbreaks and deaths.

Nursing home outbreaks are particularly concerning, as more than half — 776 of Iowa’s  deaths — have been tied to outbreaks at long-term care facilities.

The White House coronavirus task force, which has recommended a statewide mask mandate, notes that COVID-19 is being brought into nursing homes through community transmission.

Related: Trump plans rally as Iowa reaches somber coronavirus milestone