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Here's where COVID-19 hospitalizations stand in Iowa as summer 2023 nears an end

While the cases have begun to increase, doctors say there's no reason to panic.

DES MOINES, Iowa — New data from the CDC shows COVID-19 hospitalizations nationally increased 19% in the last week. Iowa has seen 109 patients admitted with the virus, a 51% increase from the previous week.

"There have been increasing cases of COVID-19 in this past month," said Dr. Aneesa Afroze, an Infectious Disease Consultant with MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center.

Afroze says this uptick is to be expected with viruses like COVID-19, pointing to the general rises we see of influenza and RSV throughout different parts of the year. 

"These little increases, we call it viral increases, happen during seasons."

UnityPoint says it's also noticed an uptick in patients with the virus. Here's their most recent data for the month of August:

  • Aug. 3 — 5
  • Aug. 7 — 2
  • Aug. 10 — 6
  • Aug. 14 — 5
  • Aug. 17 — 8
  • Aug. 21 — 8
  • Aug. 27 — 7
  • Aug. 28 — 17

"We have seen a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates in Polk County, in the past month; but the overall number of cases is still low," the Polk County Health Department told Local 5. "Polk County and most of Iowa is in a low transmission rate for COVID-19. But as we’re seeing a slight uptick in the number of cases, it’s a good reminder to follow good hygiene practices as we get closer to flu season."

Afroze added there is typically a similarity among patients who end up hospitalized with COVID-19.

"Iowa DHS reported that 79% of the people in the hospital across Iowa have been unvaccinated, and definitely this will be seen in our hospital too."

She recommends those who are immunocompromised not only get vaccinated but wear a mask in crowded public areas. For everyone else, she urges you to listen to your body. If you don't feel well, take an at-home COVID-19 test. 

"Any minimal symptoms that you might have, you may think it's a simple allergy, but get yourself tested," Afroze said. "And if you test [postive] you isolate yourself, you stay at home, at least the first five days when you are more likely to infect people."

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