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COVID-19 related deaths in Iowa spike; hospitalizations decline
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COVID-19 related deaths in Iowa spike; hospitalizations decline

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DES MOINES — One day after Iowa matched one of the lowest single-day new coronavirus-related deaths since the early days of the pandemic here, the state on Tuesday matched the second-highest single-day total with 21 virus-related deaths.

The 21 new deaths recorded Tuesday were more than the previous three days combined, at least temporarily halted what had been a downward trend in new daily deaths and displayed volatility in the data.

On Tuesday afternoon, the state also surpassed 20,000 total confirmed cases since the virus was first officially detected here in mid-March, according to state public health data.

And the state finally surpassed 5,000 tests processed in a single day, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday during a press conference at the Iowa State Capitol. Reynolds said on Saturday the state hygienic lab processed 5,223 tests, finally hitting the goal that was established when the state entered into a $26 million contract with a Utah-based private health care company to boost testing.

Reynolds said the state surpassed 5,000 tests again on Monday.

Reynolds also said 1 in 19 Iowans has now been tested at least once, and that state public health data shows the rate of positive cases decreasing.

“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished,” Reynolds said. “But the pandemic is not over and there remains much work to do.”

The previous three days brought a total of 19 virus-related deaths in Iowa, including just four confirmed on Monday. That brought the seven-day average to its lowest point in nearly two weeks.

But that average increased with Tuesday’s 21 deaths, the Iowa’s second-highest single-day total behind only the 26 confirmed on May 23.

Virus-related hospitalizations, on the other hand, continued downward trends that are approaching a month long.

The 327 hospitalizations recorded Tuesday are the fewest since late April, and the seven-day average of 360 is the lowest since early May and continues a downward trajectory that started with a peak on May 11.

The 12 new virus-related hospital admissions recorded Tuesday is the fewest since mid-April, and the seven-day average of 26.9 is the lowest since late April.

GUARD READY IF NEEDED

Reynolds said she has not yet activated the Iowa National Guard to assist local law enforcement departments at protests taking place across the state, but that the Guard stands ready if called upon.

Two people were killed and a police officer and another person were injured in protests in Davenport over the weekend, and law enforcement has on multiple occasions used tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse protests in Des Moines over the past week.

“(The Guard) is a resource I can call up if needed,” Reynolds said Tuesday. “At this point we have not needed that, but they are ready at a moment’s notice.”

Protestors are calling attention to George Floyd, a Minnesota black man who died after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

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