DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa public health officials have stopped requiring hospitals to report the home county of patients being treated for the coronavirus.
That comes even as all of the state’s 99 counties have a high rate of spread and hospitalizations are at their highest level since early October. Iowa Department of Public Health spokeswoman Sarah Ekstrand on Tuesday confirmed the change in hospital reporting requirements. The change in policy was first reported by the Iowa Capital Dispatch.
Ekstrand says the home county of patients is no longer needed to track virus activity because existing data on county-specific trends provides an appropriate understanding of disease trends. Iowa has 623 COVID-19 patients in the hospital and 146 in intensive care.