Gazette Daily News Podcast, Feb. 23

Registered nurse Mary Takes draws a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to begin vaccinations at Mercy Medical
Registered nurse Mary Takes draws a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to begin vaccinations at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids on Dec. 15, 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

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The free medical clinic in Cedar Rapids now has a waiting list for older Iowans struggling to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment online.

Starting today, Iowans 65 and older can call the Community Health Free Clinic at (319) 200-2550 to add their name to a list of people interested in getting a vaccine at the clinic. People do not have to be patients at the clinic to receive a shot.

As the clinic receives its weekly allocations of COVID-19 vaccines, officials there will call people on the waitlist and schedule an appointment to be vaccinated.

Community Health Free Clinic CEO Darlene Schmidt said the clinic’s goal in establishing a dedicated phone line is to help reach seniors who have been struggling to get a COVID-19 shot over the past few weeks.

Iowa reported 189 new coronavirus cases and 38 new, confirmed deaths Monday, according to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The new numbers bring the state’s totals to 332,762 cases and 5,374 deaths since March. The state’s seven-day average of new cases is 492.

The number of Iowans hospitalized with the virus decreased Monday from 229 to 222 — the lowest recorded since 221 on Aug. 9.

The Eastern Iowa Airport’s COVID-19 health screening program has not blocked any passengers from flying during the first four weeks of the program.

Airport officials said almost 20,000 passengers have gone through the primary health checkpoint, which includes a temperature check and some health questions.

Only 13 were flagged to go through a secondary health screening with medical staff, but all of the passengers were then cleared to fly.

The airport commission approved an amendment to the program Monday that will add rapid antigen testing to the secondary screening. That testing will only be used if medical staff request it. The testing will not be available for the general public and cannot be used as clearance to travel somewhere requiring a negative PCR test, which can more accurately detect the virus.

The Hawkeyes moved up two spots to No. 9 in Monday’s Associated Press men’s basketball rankings. It is a return to the top 10 after a two-week absence.

Iowa had been in the top 10 all season before dipping to 15th two weeks ago. The 17-6 Hawkeyes have since had a four-game winning streak. They face No. 3 Michigan Thursday, then No. 4 Ohio State on Sunday.

Iowa center Luka Garza was named the Big Ten Co-Player of the Week and Naismith Trophy Player of the Week on Monday for helping the Hawkeyes to wins over Wisconsin and Penn State. He averaged 26.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, two assists, and one block in the two games.

Things will continue to thaw today, with the weather mostly sunny and a high near 40. Tuesday night will be mostly cloudy, with a low around 30. The highs throughout the week will continue in the mid- to high-30s. 

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