The number of new reported COVID-19 cases was up again this week, according to Wednesday's data release from the Iowa Department of Public Health, one day before Thanksgiving.
The state reported 10,643 new cases over the previous seven days, making it the fourth week since early January to surpass 10,000 reported cases, and the first week that's happened since late September.
On average, the state reported 1,520 new cases per day over the past week. That's more than one new infection every minute.
New COVID-19 deaths, which typically take several weeks to be reported publicly, were down from the previous week in Wednesday's update. The state reported 86 new deaths dating back to early September, for a total of 7,354 since the start of the pandemic.
COVID-19 hospitalizations were up again, with 623 Iowans hospitalized with the disease — 79 more than last week, and just 15 shy of the 2021 peak set in September.
The rising number of COVID-19 hospitalizations coupled with a spike in flu cases has hospital officials cautioning that the health care system could be strained if Iowans don't take extra precautions.
And prior to Thanksgiving, health experts are warning that Iowans should still take preventative measures against COVID-19, including wearing masks and social distancing in indoor public spaces and limiting gatherings during the holiday season.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds noted Tuesday that, while near their 2021 peak, COVID-19 hospitalization numbers are still lower than they were a year ago.
"When you take a look at where we were last year, we were at almost 1,500," Reynolds said. "Our (vaccination) numbers continue to go up, so that’s positive. We’re seeing a lot of the pediatric vaccines are being administered, so we’re seeing some people, families that are taking advantage of that."
Vaccination efforts appeared to continue at a similar pace to previous weeks in Wednesday's update. About 53.5% of Iowans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data. Of those, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than a quarter have already received their booster dose.
Last Friday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized booster doses for all adults who received their initial vaccinations at least six months ago (or two months for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).
Read more on COVID-19 in Iowa:
The latest COVID-19 numbers in Iowa
The latest data, as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 24, compared to the previous Wednesday.
Confirmed cases: 519,894, an increase of 10,643
Deaths: 7,354, an increase of 86
Total tested: 2,182,682
Total recovered: 478,991
Statewide 14-day positivity rate: 10.4%
How many Iowans are hospitalized with COVID-19?
Hospitalizations: 623, up from 544 one week ago
Patients in ICU: 146, up from 123
Patients on ventilators: 67, up from 57
How many people in Polk and Dallas counties are vaccinated?
In Polk County, 291,597 (59%) residents are fully vaccinated, an increase of 1,682 (0.3 percentage points) since last week.
In Dallas County, 55,241 (59%) residents are fully vaccinated, an increase of 273 (0.3 percentage points).
The five counties in Iowa with the highest percentage of their population fully vaccinated as of Nov. 24 are Johnson (64%), Buena Vista (62%), Linn (60%), Polk (59%) and Dallas (59%) counties.
For a county-by-county look at the vaccination rollout, see our COVID-19 vaccine tracker, which is updated weekly.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: New Iowa COVID cases, hospitalizations up before Thanksgiving