DES MOINES — Iowa set a record Wednesday for deaths blamed on the coronavirus as new confirmed cases and the number of people being treated in hospitals remained high.

The state Department of Public Health reported 40 deaths and 3,896 confirmed new cases in the past 24 hours. That brings the total number of deaths to 2,064 and total cases to 194,479.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 also continued to increase, with a record 1,527 people being treated. There were 283 people in intensive care units.

In the last week, one in every 107 people in Iowa was diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. That’s the third-highest rate in the nation, behind North Dakota and South Dakota.

In Clinton County, 1,326 people currently have an active case of the virus, according to statistics from the Iowa Department of Public Health. A total of 2,751 have tested positive for COVID-19 since the outbreak began in March. Thirty-six people have died from the virus in Clinton County; 1,389 people have recovered.

Clinton County’s positivity rate on Wednesday stood at 28.5 percent, the ninth highest in the state. Page County has the highest positivity rate at 42 percent.

The virus has strained medical facilities throughout the nation. MercyOne Medical Center in Clinton is no different and has been taking steps to keep up with the case surge.

“We have reached a critical point in the pandemic and are experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases locally along with hospitals across Iowa,” MercyOne Clinton Medical Center Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer Amy Berentes said in a statement to the Clinton Herald. “MercyOne Clinton has expanded our capacity to care for COVID-19 patients based on our current surge plan up to 30% above our traditional capacity of 50 beds, with the ability to increase available beds to meet the needs of our community.

“Our staff is working long hours to keep our community safe, and we are working to recruit additional nurses to meet the need. However, we need the community’s support.”

Berentes said that with the rapid increase in cases and winter months coming, now is the time to slow the spread.

“We all must do our part. Your health care teams are tired – just like you,” she said. “But we haven’t given up. We’re still in this, but we can’t contain this virus without you.”

She said it is vital that residents always wear a mask in public places and anytime they are in close contact with others.

“We encourage businesses and other public places to mandate wearing a mask. Wearing your mask protects you and those around you,” she said.

She said it is important to avoid large gatherings and to limit gatherings and events to immediate family. Maintaining social distancing, staying at least six feet apart from those outside of your household and practicing good hand hygiene also are important.

“If you haven’t already, everyone six months of age and older should get a flu shot to help maintain your health,” she said.

She said MercyOne also is encouraging community members to continue to seek care for emergent needs, such as heart attack and stroke.

MercyOne also sent out a community message to those who have recovered from the virus, citing that it is in dire need of convalescent plasma. They are asking people who are recovered to consider donating or passing along the information to all contacts who have recovered from COVID-19 and might be eligible to donate.

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