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COVID-19 positivity rate up in Woodbury County, still well below April highs

COVID-19 positivity rate up in Woodbury County, still well below April highs


This electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19.

SIOUX CITY -- Sunday marked the third day in a row in which more than 15 people were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus in Woodbury County. 

The Siouxland District Health Department recorded 17 new cases Sunday, following 16 on Saturday and 19 on Friday. Friday's tally was the largest single-day increase in the number of virus cases recorded since early June. 

As a consequence of the somewhat higher number of new infections, the county's positivity rate -- the percentage of people who were tested for the virus, whose tests came back positive -- hovered above 10 percent for the third day in a row on Sunday. 

During the second half of June, there was only one day the positivity rate climbed above 10 percent, and on several days it was as low as 2, 3 or 4 percent. 

Statewide, Iowa's positivity rate was 7 percent on Saturday, according to Iowa Department of Public Health data. Positivity rates are significant because a higher positivity rate means the virus is likely going undetected in more people, and the virus generally is spreading more.

When the virus peaked in Woodbury County in April, there were days when the positivity rate was as high as 52 percent. The daily percentage declined precipitously in May. There were several days in April when more than 100 people in the county tested positive. 

The daily number of new positive test results in the county has varied somewhat over the past month, but the tally on some days had been as low as two and frequently fewer than 10.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, 3,345 people in the county have tested positive for the virus, according to IDPH data. Of these, 3,099 (or about 92.7 percent) were considered recovered as of Sunday. The county has suffered 44 deaths attributable to the virus. 

The Dakota County Health Department did not release data on new infections this weekend, and neither did the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department, which represents Cedar, Dixon, Thurston and Wayne counties.

As of Friday, Dakota County had recorded 1,809 infections, though a significant share of these are likely recovered -- the Dakota County Health Department stopped releasing recovery data in June. The health department also has not provided daily testing numbers, making a daily positivity rate calculation difficult. 

Dakota County has tallied 38 COVID-19 deaths to date. 

For a brief time in May, Dakota County was the hardest-hit county in Nebraska, with hundreds of new cases logged each day.

Since then, the county's virus numbers have fallen considerably -- during the past two weeks, 36 new infections were recorded in the county, according to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Dakota County had the fifth-highest virus tally in the state during that period, far behind the 1,056 new infections recorded in Douglas County during those same two weeks.

Less-populous Thurston County saw more new infections than Dakota County in that time period -- the county tallied 58 new infections in the past two weeks, making it the fourth-most impacted county in the state. 

In Northwest Iowa, three COVID-19 patients were admitted to the hospital during the past day, according to data from Region 3 of Iowa's Regional Medical Coordination Centers (RMCC), which represents Northwest Iowa. As of Sunday afternoon, a total of 34 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized in the region, with 12 in the ICU and three on ventilators. 

The only counties in Northwest Iowa that had not tallied any new infections as of Sunday evening were Ida, Sac and Monona. Dickinson County climbed above 300 known infections, to a total of 306. In all counties in the region, a majority of the known infected individuals are now considered recovered, though that percentage varies from county to county. 

Yankton and Union counties in Southeast South Dakota each recorded one new infection. Yankton County this weekend suffered its second COVID-19 death. 

Iowa's total COVID-19 tally rose above 35,000 on Sunday, to a total of 35,354. Of these, 26,236 (about 74.8 percent) are now considered recovered, while 750 have died. Of these deaths, 396 occurred in long-term care facility outbreaks. 

In South Dakota, a total of 7,499 people have tested positive for the virus since the beginning of the outbreak, but of these only 868 (about 11.6 percent) are still considered to have an active infection, according to the South Dakota Department of Health. The state's COVID-19 death toll stands at 109. 

The COVID-19 tally in Nebraska rose above 21,000 on Sunday, to a total of 21,172, according to the DHHS. Of these, 15,860 (about 74.9 percent) are now considered recovered, while 285 have died. 

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