Black Hawk County’s coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen. On the same day Iowa set a record single-day statewide increase in cases and Sioux City became the city with the highest average daily case growth in the U.S., Black Hawk County likely has also hit an unfortunate new milestone.
With the county locally reporting 717 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Black Hawk County probably now has the most reported cases in the state. Yesterday, it locally reported 622.
The state placed Polk County with the most total cases today, but Polk’s latest numbers — 575 — are from Thursday, as the IDPH numbers often lag a day or two from local accounts. Linn County has the third-highest number of cases in the statewide count on Friday at 509, but locally reported a total of 551 today. The state numbers have Black Hawk at 530, but the county’s local count was 717 at 12:30 p.m. Friday.
Barring a significant increase for Polk or Linn in the next day, it’s quite possible Black Hawk County, which had relatively few cases just two weeks ago (35 on April 10), will lead the state in reported cases.
Black Hawk County includes Waterloo, where employees at a now-shut down Tyson Fresh Meats plant were contracting the virus at a high rate. The plant closed because of local pressure and rising numbers of employee absenteeism.
Black Hawk County has also reported nine deaths.
In response to the outbreak at the Tyson plant, the state sent additional tests to the area, so more people there have been tested, and more positive cases have been found. Continued mass testing of plant employees continues on through tomorrow.
Despite that, Region Six (which includes Black Hawk County) was downgraded to a 9 again on Iowa’s system for rating the severity of outbreaks in different regions of the state. Gov. Kim Reynolds said it was because hospitalization numbers stayed the same, despite the increased number of cases.
by Nikoel Hytrek
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