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By Jared Strong, Iowa Capital Dispatch

Iowa’s overall infection rate has been on the rise since late March. (Image via National Foundation for Infectious Diseases)

The number of new COVID-19 infections in Iowa jumped 50% in the past week, with an average of about 453 confirmed cases per day, according to data published Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The state recorded 3,172 new cases for the past week, up from 2,114 the previous week. It’s unclear how many infections are not being counted for people who used at-home test kits. The state’s infection rate has been increasing since late March.

Hospitalizations also increased 44%, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data. The number of people with COVID-19 receiving inpatient treatment at Iowa hospitals was 124 on Wednesday, up from 86 the week before. Of those, 13 were under intensive care.

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Drake University in Des Moines moved its final week of classes to online only this week and students were asked to move out of residential housing after about 300 students tested positive last week. As of May 6, there were 102 COVID-positive students in isolation rooms at Drake and another 219 with confirmed cases off campus, according to Drake’s website.

The eastern half of the state had the highest infection rates per capita, according to IDPH data, and Johnson and Poweshiek counties had the top rates.

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Johnson and Winneshiek counties have an elevated level of community transmission, according to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report last week. Those two counties have medium spread, and all other counties were listed as low.

The rankings are based on infection rates and hospitalizations, and the CDC recommends people wear masks indoors in public places when community spread is high. An updated CDC report is expected Thursday.

On Wednesday, the state also reported 21 more deaths among people who were infected by the coronavirus. A total of 9,554 infected people have died in Iowa during the pandemic.

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