DES MOINES — Information from the Iowa Department of Public Health suggests most patients diagnosed with COVID-19 are not being hospitalized.

That matches what health officials have said over the past week, urging people not to immediately rush to hospitals if they think they might have the virus. Most patients, officials said, will not develop serious complications and can recover at home.

Iowa announced 34 new diagnoses of COVID-19 on Thursday. That brought the total to 179 in the state.

As of Thursday, 31 patients were hospitalized across Iowa. Another 15 people have been treated at Iowa hospitals and released. That does not mean they are over the virus. The state has not declared any of the cases in Iowa to have recovered. One person has died of the virus.

That leaves 81 cases in the IDPH count who have never been hospitalized for the virus. That could change for those patients if their conditions worsen. But, for now, those people have not had to seek in-patient treatment.

The figure for hospitalizations does not match up with the number of diagnosed cases. That, the IDPH said, is because the data does not include cases still under investigation.

Three local counties have confirmed COVID-19 tests: Wapello, Appanoose and Mahaska counties. Each of those has only a single confirmed case. Johnson County remains the epicenter of the state’s outbreak, with 49 confirmed cases.

The experience in other nations has been that older patients seem to have more complications. That’s a concern for Iowa. About 17 percent of Iowans are over the age of 65. That’s enough to put Iowa into a tie with Ohio as the 17th-highest percentage in the country.

But lower risk statistically does not mean younger people are immune. Iowa’s cases currently include one diagnosed case for someone under age 18. Another 43 cases were diagnosed in people younger than age 40.

Matt Milner can be reached at mmilner@ottumwacourier.com and followed on Twitter @mwmilner

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Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

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