COVID-19 in Iowa: Hospitalizations down, cases up in weekly update – Des Moines Register

Two years ago, on Nov. 17, 2020, Iowa reported 1,527 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state’s hospitals. That was the most reported at any point in the pandemic.
Two years later, on Nov. 16, 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported 137 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Iowa — the fewest in a weekly update in more than six months.
With holiday gatherings on the horizon, including Thanksgiving next week, the state is by no means out of the woods in regards to an autumn or winter COVID-19 surge. But Iowa has so far avoided the severe spikes that have overwhelmed hospitals in previous years. (On this day in 2021, there were 544 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the state.)
The prevalence of COVID-19 vaccines compared with previous years — including the new bivalent boosters that provide particular protection against the currently dominant strains of the omicron variant — is one reason hospitalizations have remained low so far.
There also appear to be fewer COVID-19 cases in the state this year, but that’s more difficult to tell because of the increasing number of people using at-home tests, which are typically not included in the state’s count of new cases.
The Iowa Department of Public Health did report a small increase in the number of new reported COVID-19 cases this week. The health department reported 1,980 new cases this week, or about 283 per day — up from 266 per day the week before. That’s the most reported in one week since late September, but still lower than the new case rate throughout most of the summer.
The state health department also reported 24 additional COVID-19 deaths in this week’s update, although most of those likely occurred earlier than the past week due to the time it takes to verify and publicly report such deaths. Iowa’s pandemic death toll now stands at 10,253.
The latest data in Iowa since March 2020 for the pandemic, as of midnight Nov. 16, compared with one week earlier:
The Iowa Department of Public Health reports vaccination data once per month. As of Nov. 9, 59.7% of Iowa’s population were considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19, having received their initial one- or two-dose vaccine sequence.
Note: Hospitalization data for COVID-19 is no longer available through the Iowa Department of Public Health. The data below is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Tim Webber is a data visualization specialist for the Register. Reach him at, 515-284-8532, and on Twitter at @HelloTimWebber.