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Iowa seeing much higher COVID-19 positive test rate than Minnesota

Minnesota has had a higher number of deaths, however.

Iowa has seen an influx of positive COVID-19 tests this week with more than 400 patients testing positive in two of the last three days. 

On April 19, a new daily high of 464 patients tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. That total came from 1,771 laboratory tests. On Sunday, 264 of 1,329 tests were positive, and of Saturday's 1,742 tests, 431 were positive. 

Iowa's daily testing totals have been about on par with Minnesota – generally between 1,000 and 1,800 tests daily – for the past two weeks, but the overall positive test rate is 13.2% in Iowa compared to only 5.4% in Minnesota. 

  • Iowa: 3,641 cases from 27,615 tests
  • Minnesota: 2,567 cases from 47,657 tests 

Despite fewer confirmed cases and a lower positive rate, Minnesota's COVID-19 death toll is at 160 compared to 84 in Iowa. The reason for the higher death count in Minnesota is unclear, although one loose connection could be that approximately 31% of Minnesota's cases have been patients age 65 or older, which is considered a more vulnerable population to the disease. 

And while the median age of victims in Minnesota is 84, only 5% of confirmed cases in Iowa are elderly, with 17.3% more defined as older adults. Additionally, 113 of the 160 deaths in Minnesota were residents of long-term care facilities. 

Iowa is one of a handful of states without a stay-at-home order, although Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, recently said that Iowa has "a lot of things that are totally compatible with what everyone else is doing." 

According to the Des Moines Register, a JBS pork plant in Marshalltown has seen 34 workers test positive for the virus. A JBS pork facility Worthington, Minnesota, closed this week due to a similar outbreak. 

The Iowa Department of Health updates positive and negative test results on its website as they are reported. The Minnesota Department of Health updates its coronavirus dashboard once daily at 11 a.m., with the results revealing information through the previous day's reporting period cut-off at 4 p.m. 

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