116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The number of people being treated for COVID-19 in Iowa's hospitals and intensive care units has dropped to the lowest number the state has seen since July.
Hospitalizations dipped from 227 to 196 during the 24-hour period ending at 11 a.m. Friday, marking the first time hospitalizations have dipped below 200 since July 16, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health,
The number of patients in intensive care units also dropped from 55 to 45, the lowest since July 9.
Patients on ventilators also dropped from 22 to 18, the lowest recorded since July 6.
Iowa on Friday reported 647 new coronavirus cases and 25 newly confirmed deaths.
The new numbers bring the state's totals to 335,405 cases and 5,463 deaths since March.
The new cases come from 3,019 tests in the 24-hour period ending at 11 a.m. Friday, for a one-day positivity rate of 21.4 percent.
Of the new cases, 85 were found in youths up to age 17, bringing the total number of minors in Iowa infected with the virus to 37,793 since March. One new case was reported among education workers, bringing that total to 7,719.
Linn County on Friday reported 15 new cases out of 968 tests, for a one-day positivity rate of 1.45 percent. To date, 19,353 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the county since March.
Johnson County reported 25 news cases, identified in 607 tests, for a positivity rate of 3.79 percent. Since March, 13,037 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the county since March.
The 25 deaths reported Friday took place from Jan. 7 to Feb. 22, according to Iowa Department of Public Health.
Of those deaths, nine were people over 80 years old, 12 were 61 to 80 years old, three were 41 to 60 and one was 18 to 40.
Black Hawk and Cass counties reported three deaths each. Polk, Pottawattamie and Warren counties each reported two deaths.
Counties with one death each were Adair, Cedar, Cerro Gordo, Clinton, Fayette, Floyd, Hamilton, Henry, Jasper, Lee, Monona, Scott, Tama and Webster.
A death previously assigned to Buchanan County was reassigned to an unspecified county, bringing Friday's total to 25.
Long-term care facilities
As of Thursday, 18 of Iowa's long-term care facilities were experiencing virus outbreaks, according to Iowa Department of Public Health data.
Within those facilities, 464 individuals were COVID-19 positive.
Lantern Park Specialty Care in Johnson County is reporting 44 cases, with 38 recoveries.
Since the start of the pandemic, 2,164 people in long-term care facilities have died from the virus.
People age 65 and older who want to be put on a COVID-19 vaccine waitlist can call the Community Health Free Clinic in Cedar Rapids at (319) 200-2550 between 9 and 11 a.m. Monday through Thursday.
As of Thursday afternoon, 655,964 doses of the vaccine have been administered in Iowa, with 631,645 of those doses going to Iowa residents.
Of those doses, 334,696 people have had one shot, and 160,634 have completed the two-shot series.
In Linn County, 47,733 doses have been administered, with 12,701 - or 7.28 percent of the adult population - having completed both shots.
In Johnson County, 44,268 doses have been administered, with 13,393 - 11.06 percent of the county's adult population - completing both shots.
Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Thursday the state would be launching, vaccinate.iowa.gov, on Friday, a website designed to answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
The website will not provide an avenue for Iowans to schedule vaccine appointments, the governor said.
Instead, it will provide information about what groups of Iowans are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, answer frequently asked questions about the vaccine, and provide a locator to help Iowans find where Iowans might find a health care provider scheduling vaccine shots.
Reynolds said the state would be creating a call center program to help older Iowans who need assistance scheduling a vaccine appointment.
The governor said the state is creating vaccine navigators to assist older Iowans through the state's 211 call center in scheduling appointments. Reynolds said she expects the vaccine navigators to be ready to field calls via 211 starting the week of March 8.
Who can get the vaccine?
Front-line health care workers, residents and staff at long-term care facilities, and Iowans 65 and older are eligible to receive vaccines now.
Iowans under 65 may qualify for a vaccine if they meet criteria in the groups below. The tiers of Phase 1B are ranked in order of vaccination priority:
' Tier 1: First responders such as firefighters, police officers and child welfare social workers; school staff and early childhood education and child care workers.
' Tier 2: Food, agriculture, distribution and manufacturing workers who work or live in congregate settings that don't allow for social distancing; people with disabilities living in home settings and their caregivers.
' Tier 3: Staff and residents in congregate living settings that include shelters, behavioral health treatment centers, sober living homes and detention centers (but not college dorms); government officials and staff working at the Iowa Capitol during the legislative session.
' Tier 4: Inspectors responsible for hospital, long-term care and child safety.
' Tier 5: Correctional facility staff and incarcerated people in state and local facilities.
People who don't meet those criteria will have to wait. The state will announce when other ages and occupational categories qualify.
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Katie Brumbeloe of The Gazette contributed.