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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Children aged 17 and younger made up 29 percent of the positive COVID-19 cases reported in Iowa this past week and remain the top age group for positive cases.
Also, the percent of positive cases among Iowans 17 and younger -- 22 percent of reported cases this past week -- has been steadily increasing over the past month, according to a Gazette analysis of state coronavirus data.
That age group’s rate was 17 percent two weeks ago and 13 percent three weeks ago.
In Washington County, that age group accounts for 46 percent of the past week’s cases.
In Linn County, 31 percent of positive cases are in that age bracket.
In Johnson County, the age group with the highest percentage of new cases is the 18- to 29-year-olds, who account for 33 percent. The 17 and younger group account for 24 percent of the positive cases.
Statewide, 8,404 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the past week, according to Wednesday numbers released by the Iowa Department of Public Health.
That compares to 8,308 cases the previous week.
The statewide seven-day positivity rate was 9 percent. The week before, it was 8.6 percent.
The total number of COVID-19 cases reported in Iowa since March 2020 now stands at 416,794.
Linn County reported 744 new cases over the past seven days, bringing the seven-day average to 106 — the highest reported since Dec. 8, 2020 -- with a 10.2 percent positivity rate.
A total of 24,738 county residents have tested positive since March 2020.
Johnson County added 312 cases in the past week, for a seven-day average of 45 and a positivity rate of 6.5 percent, a drop from the previous week’s 8.3 percent.
The new cases bring the county’s total case count since March 2020 to 16,197.
All 99 counties in Iowa were at a high level of community transmission of the virus as of Tuesday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That means all counties in Iowa fall under CDC recommendations for individuals, even those who are fully vaccinated, to wear masks in public indoor spaces.
Over the past six weeks, the state has seen “a very significant increase” in the number of new individuals becoming vaccinated, Kelly Garcia, director of the state Department of Human Services and acting director of the state Department of Public Health, told members of the Iowa Council on Human Services on Thursday.
“This has become a very tricky conversation at this point in the game, but we are seeing progress — we’re seeing a higher uptick of new people coming in to become vaccinated than we did in previous summer months, which is wonderful,” she said. “That is phenomenal.”
The number of fully vaccinated Iowans rose by 14,289 over the past seven days for a total of 1,565,387.
That accounts for 58.49 percent of Iowans aged 12 and older, as well as 49.61 percent of all Iowans.
Completed vaccinations among Linn County residents rose 1,200, bringing the fully vaccinated total to 126,951. That’s 70.36 percent of the population aged 16 and older and 56 percent of the county’s total population.
In Johnson County, 647 more individuals completed a vaccine series over the past week, bringing the total number of vaccinated residents to 91,854. That’s 73.89 percent of the 16-and-older population and 60.77 of the total population.
Garcia said Iowans are realizing COVID-19 is “something that we are living with” and continuing to “learn and evolve” in how to mitigate the viral spread.
She encouraged Iowans to continue to have “courageous” conversations with family, friends and acquaintances about the importance of getting vaccinated since personal stories of people’s COVID-19 experiences seem to make significant impressions.
The number of hospitalizations statewide jumped to 578 this week, the highest since Jan. 8. The previous week, 524 individuals were admitted for COVID-19.
Patients in the intensive care unit rose to 158, the highest since Dec. 15, 2020.
Patients on ventilators jumped to 83 from 66 the week before. Ventilated patients this week are the most since Dec. 17, 2020.
Those who are unvaccinated account for 79.4 percent of the COVID-19 hospitalizations and 88 percent of the patients in intensive care, state data shows.
Older Iowans make up the majority of those currently hospitalized for COVID-19. Individuals between the ages of 70 and 79 account for 20 percent and those 60 to 69 account for 19 percent of hospitalizations.
Iowans aged 17 and younger account for 7 percent of hospitalizations, and those 18 and 29 represent 9 percent of all patients.
Iowa confirmed 30 deaths from 18 counties over the past week. Two of the deaths came in September and the remainder in August, according to a Gazette analysis.
Among those deaths, 16 were between the ages of 61-80; seven were aged 81 and older; five were between 41 and 60; and two between 18 and 40.
Both Linn and Johnson counties reported one death each. The death toll in Linn County has reached 350 and 90 in Johnson County.
Polk County reported five deaths, and Scott County reported three.
Six counties reported two deaths each -- Black Hawk, Buchanan, Buena Vista, Lee, Pottawattamie and Sac.
Counties reporting one death each, in addition to Linn and Johnson, were Grundy, Hardin, Henry, Monona, Muscatine, Washington, Woodbury and Wright.
Long-term care facility outbreaks
Twenty long-term care facilities in Iowa are now reporting an outbreak — three or more positive tests of COVID-19 among staff and resident.
The state reported 14 outbreaks in nursing homes last week. The number had reached zero earlier this summer.
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Rod Boshart and John McGlothlen of The Gazette contributed to this article.