Iowa’s COVID-19 Spread Fastest In Country This Past Week

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By Nikoel Hytrek, Courtesy of Iowa Starting Line

Iowa is number one in the nation for states where coronavirus is spreading fastest.

That spot was secured according to MSN and 24/7 Wall Street, a financial news and commentary website. It compared the number of confirmed cases and deaths from April 16 to April 23, showing a 75.1 percent one-week increase for Iowa, the highest in the country.

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In just the two days since that time period, Iowa has had two days in a row of the highest-yet new confirmed case totals, so the rate is even higher now than what the group found.

Today, April 25, Iowa’s statewide totals were 5,092 cases and 112 deaths. A week ago, it was 2,513 cases and 74 deaths. In that period of time, the number of cases increased by 2,579, or 102.6 percent.

North Dakota and Nebraska are second and third in the overall ranking.

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According to data compiled by the New York Times, as of Saturday evening, three Iowa metros — Sioux City, Waterloo-Cedar Falls and Des Moines — are in the top 15 metro areas with the highest average daily growth rate of cases. Sioux City is first, Waterloo-Cedar Falls is fourth and Des Moines is eleventh.

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No other state has more than two cities in the top 15.

In that seven-day period from April 18 to today, outbreaks at long-term care facilities, manufacturing centers and meatpacking plants in the state — or just over the border — have driven the number of cases up across Iowa.

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Black Hawk County now has the highest number of cases in the state with nearly 800. There, a Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Waterloo was the biggest source of the outbreak. The plant finally shut down after local leaders put pressure on the company.

A Nebraska meatpacking plant is the most likely source of the explosion in cases seen in Woodbury County, on the other side of the state. There, 396 cases have been reported after having only 35 last Saturday.

Iowa’s first confirmed case was on March 8. Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered the closure of schools and non-essential businesses in mid-March. She’s never issued a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order for the state, and said Friday she would announce how she plans to reopen Iowa’s economy — starting with elective surgeries and farmers’ markets — on Monday.

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