Third COVID-19 death in Washington County, officials say

A woman over 80 has died according to Washington County Public Health

Washington County is now up to three deaths due to COVID-19.

Washington County Public Health Director Danielle Pettit- Majewski told the Union the coroner has officially ruled that a woman over the age of 80 has died due to COVID-19.

The other two deaths, which have already been included in the official statewide counts, were a man (aged 61-80) and another woman (aged 80+.) Both had “underlying health conditions” according to an earlier release from the Governor’s Office.

Pettit-Majewski said the third person who died was unable to be tested before she died but had COVID-19 symptoms and had come into contact with another individual who tested positive.

Washington County currently has 34 cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday morning, making it the county with the fourth-highest amount of confirmed cases in the state. Pettit-Majewski said a factor of having more cases than other counties may come from the amount of testing that has been done.

“Number one, our clinic has been proactive in testing,” she said. “Additionally, our proximity to the University of Iowa means a lot of our residents get care there so overall, there are more opportunities for testing.”

As Washington County resides within the corridor, many of its residents travel up north to Johnson and Linn Counties for work. Pettit-Majewski said it’s hard to know if that’s a factor of Washington County having higher numbers as well.

“I don’t know if our counts are unusually high or if we are just doing a better job at testing,” she said. “We are on the corridor so we have people who travel for work so that is probably a factor. We’ve had good testing and that’s shown the cases we do have.”

As of Wednesday, the state has 549 COVID-19 cases and nine deaths confirmed by the statewide count. According to its Wednesday data as well, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that Iowa will not reach “the peak” of the COVID-19 outbreak until May and projects that 1,488 Iowans will die from COVID-19 by Aug. 4.

For the majority of people according to the CDC, COVID-19 causes mild to moderate symptoms including fever and a dry cough. Elder adults and individuals with underlying health conditions are more at-risk for severe symptoms including pneumonia.