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State

Iowa virus numbers vary widely because of website problem

DES MOINES (AP) — The numbers on Iowa's online coronavirus tracker varied widely this weekend because of a maintenance problem with the site.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported Saturday morning that 1,108 Iowans had died from COVID-19. Later in the day, the number of deaths fell to 894 before rebounding Saturday evening to 1,109.

Several other key statistics also fluctuated on the state website Saturday. For instance, the number of cases of coronavirus dropped from 63,122 to 51,183 before being restored after 9 p.m. Saturday.

Department of Public Health spokeswoman Amy McCoy told the Des Moines Register by email late Saturday that the problem appeared to be fixed.

“A maintenance upgrade to the state’s website caused the numbers to fluctuate temporarily,” McCoy said.

The state health department has been criticized recently for other problems with its coronavirus statistics. Gov. Kim Reynolds said on Aug. 20 that the state had been incorrectly attributing many recent coronvirus test results to several months ago.

The error affected the positivity rates the state reported, which school districts are relying on as they decide whether to send children back to schools.

On Sunday, the state's online virus tracker said there had been 64,208 coronavirus cases and 1,113 deaths linked to the virus in Iowa since the pandemic began.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Iowa has risen over the past two weeks from 501.43 new cases per day on Aug. 15 to 859.14 new cases per day on Aug. 29.

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