Watching local COVID-19 hospitalization numbers peak and valley this week gave observers whiplash.
Just take the number of COVID-19 patients reported at Genesis Health System over the course of the last four days. The hospital system reported 40 patients with severe symptoms of the virus Friday.
That report came after Genesis said Wednesday an unspecified number of discharges lowered the patient count to 32 patients. On Tuesday, Genesis reported 48 COVID-19 patients.
Patient number ping-pong could be found in Rock Island County, where health officials said Friday 17 county residents were hospitalized with the virus. The Rock Island County Health Department reported 16 patients hospitalized in the county with the virus Thursday. That was a drop of five patients over the course of 24 hours. The Rock Island County Health Department reported 25 county residents hospitalized with COVID-19.
UnityPoint Health-Trinity did not report COVID-19 hospitalizations Friday, but for three days the hospital system did show falling patients counts.
Trinity reported 24 COVID-19 patients hospitalized with severe symptoms Thursday, down from 28 Wednesday and 32 Tuesday.
Younger people dominate new COVID-19 cases
The Rock Island County Health Department reported 41 new COVID-19 cases Friday — and once again, the vast majority of cases are found in men and women under the age of 60.
All told, 36 of 41 cases reported Friday were people younger than 60 — that's 87.8% of the day's new cases.
Perhaps a more disturbing number was found in Friday's count of new cases, as 14 of the 41 — or 34% — were people 18 or younger.
The results echo an emerging trend being tracked by local public health officials and hospitals. Earlier this week, Genesis released some numbers from a seven-day rolling count that ended Monday.
Of 202 positive tests ordered by Genesis in seven days dating back from Monday, only 27 positives were people 61 or older. There were 76 positive cases in the 18-to-40 age group and another 56 cases in the 41-to-60 age group.
Those combined 132 cases accounted for 65.3% of the 202 total cases.
The health departments in Rock Island and Scott counties are ramping up efforts to encourage younger people to get vaccinated. According to numbers from Genesis, those efforts will be crucial.
Of the 529 COVID-19-related Genesis hospital admissions since Dec. 16 — the first day of immunizations in the Q-C — no patients have been admitted who were fully vaccinated and 14 days after their second dose.
The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 87 new COVID-19 cases in Scott County Friday, pushing the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 20,376. The number of deaths linked to the virus remained 234.
As of Friday, the Rock Island County Health Department has confirmed 13,973 cases of COVID-19 since last March. The number of deaths related to the virus remained 311.
New variant found in Iowa
The Iowa Department of Public Health confirmed one case of the COVID-19 variant, SARS-CoV-2 P.1 Friday in Iowa. The variant is also referred to as the Brazilian variant.
According to a news release, the case was detected in Johnson County. The Iowa Department of Public Health and local public health officials initiated contact with the individual to understand exposures and initiate the health monitoring process. The process includes notifying anyone with whom the individual has been in close contact. As always, affected individuals are advised to isolate in accordance with IDPH and CDC guidance.
The case was identified by the State Hygienic Lab, which is conducting sequencing to understand what strains are circulating here in Iowa and contribute to the understanding of COVID-19 activity in the United States. Routine analysis of genetic sequence data assisted in identifying the new variant strain in Iowa.