DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa public health officials have stopped requiring hospitals to report the home county of patients being treated for the coronavirus.
That comes even as all of the state’s 99 counties have a high rate of spread and hospitalizations are at their highest level since early October.
Iowa Department of Public Health spokeswoman Sarah Ekstrand on Tuesday confirmed the change in hospital reporting requirements. The change in policy was first reported by the Iowa Capital Dispatch last week.
Ekstrand says the home county of patients is no longer needed to track virus activity because existing data on county-specific trends provides an appropriate understanding of disease trends.
Iowa has 665 COVID-19 patients in the hospital and 154 in intensive care according to data collected on Sunday. The image below shows the IDPH's COVID summary from then.
Watch more COVID-19 coverage on Local 5's YouTube channel
Health officials urge everyone to continue to practice mitigation strategies to stop the spread of COVID-19: