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Local Organization Points to Rapid Testing as the Cause for Delayed Care

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DES MOINES, Iowa– Iowa reached the highest number of hospitalizations the state has seen since the beginning of the pandemic, with 444 cases reported Tuesday. 

The White House Coronavirus Task Force has said Iowa is in the red zone, especially going into flu season. When asked what the state is doing to limit community spread in a press conference, Gov. Kim Reynolds said the state is getting the word out about mitigation strategies. 

According to the Department of Public Health, Iowa is seeing the most hospitalizations in the northwest region. The governor said though COVID-19 cases are occurring evenly between age groups, those most vulnerable are the ones being hospitalized. In fact, 72% of those hospitalized are over the age of 60 and 68% have pre-existing conditions. 

Gov. Reynolds also said a lot of those hospitalizations are due to delayed care. The Executive Director of the Iowa Public Health Association, Lina Tucker Reinders, suggested this problem with delayed care has a lot to do with when people are getting tested for the coronavirus. 

“Each day that you’re ill, your viral load increases and the tests are only sensitive to a certain degree. And the rapid test, the ones that give you the results the same day, they have a higher rate of false positive,” Reinders said. “And so really you should be getting tested a few days after some symptom onset not right away, the day you’re exposed.” 

Hospitals in central Iowa say they currently aren’t seeing a surge in hospitalizations. 

“Here in the metro at least, we are still at about half the number of hospitalizations the metro had at the height in May. So we are currently doing much better,” Chief Physician Quality Officer for Broadlawns Medical Center, Dr. Nicole Gilg Gachiani said.  

Combined, UnityPoint Health and MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center are treating 50-60 coronavirus patients a day. 

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