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UPDATE: 123 new coronavirus cases Monday, 2 new deaths; Black Hawk, Tama Cos. add 15 each

UPDATE: 123 new coronavirus cases Monday, 2 new deaths; Black Hawk, Tama Cos. add 15 each

From the Coronavirus update Northeast Iowa series

JOHNSTON — Iowa reported 123 new cases of coronavirus Monday and two new deaths.

Black Hawk and Tama counties added 15 new cases apiece.

The two deaths were one adult over the age of 81 in Linn County and an adult between the ages of 61 and 80 in Muscatine County.

A total of 82 counties now have confirmed cases of the virus.

That brings the number of cases to 1,710 and the total number of deaths to 43 since the first case was announced in the state March 8.

State officials said 142 individuals remain hospitalized, and 741 have recovered.

Black Hawk County’s new cases included nine adults under 40, three adults between the ages of 41 and 60, and three adults between the ages of 61 and 80. Tama County added four adults under 40, six adults between 41 and 60, one between 61 and 80 and four over the age of 81.

Bremer, Buchanan, Fayette and Hardin counties each added one case.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Monday she expects Iowa’s caseload to peak at the end of April, and noted long-term care facilities have borne the brunt of deaths.

“Staff and residents of long-term care facilities account for 10% of cases ... and 53% of deaths,” Reynolds said.

The number of Iowans recovering from the coronavirus continues to increase daily. But the governor cautioned infections and deaths will continue to rise in the coming days and weeks.

In Region 6, which encompasses much of Northeast Iowa, 44 patients are currently hospitalized, with 29 patients in intensive care and 14 on ventilators. Five new patients had been admitted in the last 24 hours.

Region 6 includes hard-hit Linn County, which added 15 new cases Monday.

But state data show the rate of hospitalizations falling in southeast Iowa, meaning the formula state public health officials use to guide their response is producing a lower number, moving the region further from a shelter-in-place order.

In the state’s 10-point formula for virus response efforts, the region changed from being rated a “9” to an “8,” public health department deputy director Sarah Reisetter said Monday.

But Reynolds said that does not mean she is ready to reopens many businesses and schools or relax social distancing recommendations.

“These signs are encouraging, but they are not reason enough for us to let up on our mitigation efforts at this time,” Reynolds said during the briefing from the State Emergency Operations Center at Camp Dodge in Johnston. “As we’ve been saying, we project that Iowa’s peak will occur later this month, and until then we anticipate our number of positive cases and unfortunately our deaths will continue to rise as well.”

Reynolds has established a state task force that will discuss how to reopen Iowa businesses. The task force will begin meeting this week, It will initially be made up of state department heads. Private-sector leaders will be added later.

She reiterated that she plans to decide by the end of the week whether to recommend Iowa’s schools remain closed beyond April 30.

Erin Murphy of The Courier’s Des Moines Bureau contributed to this report.

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