Iowa Cases Spike By 389 With More Packing Plant Worker Tests

By Nikoel Hytrek

April 19, 2020

On Sunday, the Iowa Department of Health put out new numbers showing Iowa’s biggest single-day spike in coronavirus cases yet.

Iowa’s number of positive cases of COVID-19 is now 2,902, marking an increase of 389 from the reported totals from Saturday to Sunday.

According to a press release put out by the IDPH, “261 or 67% of today’s 389 additional positive cases can be attributed to surveillance testing of meat processing facilities.”

The press release reported over 500 tests were completed on Tyson employees and over 500 were completed on National Beef employees. The tests of Tyson employees found 84 positive cases and 177 National Beef employees tested positive.

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The biggest increases in cases were in Marshall, Tama and Linn Counties — 72, 65 and 65 respectively.

Polk, Louisa, Muscatine, Johnson and Black Hawk Counties also had significant increases.

The state recently sent hundreds more tests to each of those areas because of reported outbreaks, many of which focused in on meat packing plants.

These increases are reflected in the updated assessments of the regions the state is using to judge the severity of the virus spread.

After being downgraded to an 8 on Friday, Region One — which includes Polk County — increased again to a 9. Regions One, Five and Six have moved the most, which makes sense because they have the highest populations and most of the meatpacking plants and long-term care facilities contributing to the majority of the state’s outbreaks.

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On Thursday, Gov. Kim Reynolds imposed stricter restrictions on social activity in Region Six, which now has a 10 rating. Businesses outside of the non-essential ones already closed have not faced further restrictions. The rating should have resulted in a shelter-in-place order, but Reynolds has yet to issue one.


by Nikoel Hytrek
Posted 4/19/20

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  • Nikoel Hytrek

    Nikoel Hytrek is Iowa Starting Line’s longest-serving reporter. She covers LGBTQ issues, abortion rights and all topics of interest to Iowans. Her biggest goal is to help connect the dots between policy and people’s real lives. If you have story ideas or tips, send them over to [email protected].

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