Fact check: Are admissions to Iowa declining primarily due to COVID-19?
Fact check: Are admissions to Iowa declining primarily due to COVID-19?

Fact check: Are admissions to Iowa declining primarily due to COVID-19?

Governor Kim Reynolds will give a speech on the state of the state on Jan. 11 at the State House in Des Moines. (Associated Press)

Iowa is on its way out of a record-breaking COVID-19 rise that nearly pushed state hospitals to the breaking point.

But according to Gov. Kim Reynolds, the new coronavirus was not the only cause of the high patient numbers. The Republican governor told reporters at the Iowa State Capitol on Feb. 9 that data shows that patients infected during this recent rise are more likely to be hospitalized for reasons other than COVID-19.

“At the height of our admissions in November 2020, for 75 percent of admissions, the primary cause was COVID-19,” Reynolds said. “Today, the number of admissions primarily due to COVID-19 is below 50 percent.”

Analysis

In the first part of its statement, Reynolds referred to November 17, 2020, when COVID-19 hospital admissions across Iowa were at their peak, according to Gov. Alex Murphy. The Gazettes analysis of publicly available coronavirus data confirms that the date was the highest number of patients seen in the last two years.

There were 1,527 patients with COVID-19 in Iowa hospitals on November 17, 2020. Of those, COVID-19 was the primary cause of 1,117 patients – or 73.14 percent – being admitted, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The total number of admissions was 606 on February 9, 2022, the day Reynolds spoke to reporters. State public health data show that 296 were hospitalized primarily because of COVID-19, which is just over 48 percent of 606.

Health authorities across the country have reported a similar trend in “random” COVID-19 admissions, referring to patients who were admitted for other health reasons but then tested positive for the virus as part of a routine screening.

The recent increase in COVID-19 cases, driven by the highly transferable omicron variant, resulted in many states experiencing the highest COVID-19 related hospitalization levels since the pandemic started two years ago.

But unlike previous increases, larger proportions of patients were nationwide does not come to the hospital due to COVID-19.

The nation’s best public health experts – including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Instructor Rochelle Walensky and Dr. Anthony Faucithe president’s senior medical adviser came with similar statements on December 5 that “many” children nationwide are hospitalized with COVID-19, as opposed to because of COVID-19.

New York public health officials reported on 17 January about 42 percent of all COVID-19-positive patients in hospitals across the state did not have the virus listed as the cause of hospitalization. It reported the New York Times this proportion of random COVID-19 cases ranged between 50 percent and 65 percent at other hospitals in New York.

In addition to New York, other states have begun asking hospitals to specify whether COVID-19 patients were hospitalized for causes other than coronavirus. It includes Floridawhere you the health system tweeted in early January only half of the total COVID-19-positive patients were hospitalized due to the virus.

The governors of Massachusetts and California has also taken similar steps in recent weeks.

The rise in chance cases also does not remove the fact that hospitals in Iowa and across the country faced serious challenges with their capacity during the recent rise this winter.

Experts say that omicron is more contagious than previous coronavirus variants, which means that it infected a large number of individuals and thus resulted in a higher number of patients in need of hospitalization.

At the same time, health care providers say they are seeing elevated levels of people with worsening chronic medical conditions seeking care. Some experts have theorized delayed care in the early stages of the pandemic has resulted in deteriorating health for these patients.

It should be noted that the designation as a random COVID-19 case does not provide any insight into the severity of the patient’s disease. These patients may be asymptomatic, or their infection with the virus may aggravate already problematic medical conditions.

Hospital officials across the country also noted that regardless of the severity of their illness, all COVID-19 patients requires more hospital resourcessuch as personal protective equipment and insulated spaces.

These patients also increase staffing issues as providers caring for COVID-19 patients is unable to treat uninfected patients.

Conclusion

This recent increase in randomized cases is a change from previous coronavirus increases in which the vast majority of COVID-19 patients were admitted due to their infection. This is still the case for many patients nationwide, but in general, Reynolds is right that the dynamic is also changing in Iowa.

She is also entitled to the specific percentage points she stated, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Reynolds achieves an A.

Criteria

The Fact Checker team checks the statements of a political candidate / official in Iowa or a national candidate / official about Iowa, or in advertisements displayed on our market.

Claims must be able to be verified independently. We give statements grades from A to F based on accuracy and coherence.

If you discover a claim that you believe needs to be verified, email us at [email protected]

Members of the Fact Checker team are Elijah Decious, Erin Jordan, Marissa Payne and Michaela Ramm. This fact check was researched and written by Michaela Ramm.


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