CORONAVIRUS

Iowa adds 653 COVID-19 cases and 60 deaths as health care workers receive first vaccines in the state

Medical assistant Shannon Jensen (right) carries a swab for a coronavirus test taken from a patient in their car back to
Medical assistant Shannon Jensen (right) carries a swab for a coronavirus test taken from a patient in their car back to her colleague Katrina Rogers to be bagged and sealed at the Family Medicine Clinic of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City on Monday, April 20, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

Iowa reported 653 new COVID-19 cases and 60 confirmed deaths in 34 counties in the 24-hour period ending at 11 a.m. Monday, according to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The new additions were released just a few hours after a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics emergency nurse received the first novel coronavirus vaccine in the state since its emergency authorization Friday

David Conway, 39, a University of Iowa Health Care emergency department nurse for four years, said he wasn’t nervous and didn’t hesitate when asked if he’d be willing to get the historic vaccine on day one.

“Of course I am,” he said, adding that it’s his hope the vaccine — which is being administered to health care workers across the country — is the beginning of the end of a devastating period in American and world history.

Included in the new cases reported Monday, were 158 new cases among children ages 17 and younger and one new case among education workers. As of 11 a.m. Monday, a total of 26,260 children and 7,643 education workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

The remaining 1,530 of the 2,183 recorded test results between 11 a.m. Sunday and 11 a.m. Monday came back negative or inconclusive. Linn County added 28 cases bring its total 15,489. The county’s even-day average is 64. Johnson County added 19 cases, bringing its total to 10,355. The county’s seven-day average is 48.

As of 11 a.m. Monday, a total of 3,269 Iowans have died as the result of COVID-19.

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Among the 34 counties that reported new confirmed deaths Monday, Linn County recorded two and Johnson County reported one.

Black Hawk and Pottawattamie counties each reported five deaths, Humboldt County reported four and Benton, Bremer, Butler, Carroll and Polk counties each reported three deaths.

The counties that reported two deaths each are Dubuque, Floyd, Keokuk and Scott. The counties each reported one death are Buena Vista, Cass, Cherokee, Clayton, Clinton, Delaware, Hardin, Jefferson, Jones, Kossuth, Marion, O’Brien, Sac, Shelby, Sioux, Story, Union, Warren, Washington and Wright.

Hospitalizations across the state saw a slight increase in the past 24 hours, rising from 749 to 764, while the number of patients being treated in intensive care units dropped from 170 to 160. The number of patients requiring ventilators to help them breathe also dropped from 99 to 86.

Iowa reported two additional outbreaks at long term care facilities Monday bringing the total number of active outbreaks to 145 with 5,854 individuals who are positive for COVID-19 and 1,132 confirmed deaths.

To date, the Iowa Department of Corrections said it has tested 30,100 inmates in prisons across the state. A total of 3,680 inmates have tested positive, according to the DOC, 203 of which are currently positive for the virus, and 3,477 inmates have recovered.

The largest concentration of positive cases is currently at Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, where 81 of the roughly 700 inmates are COVID-19 positive.

The medium — maximum security facility houses approximately 840 inmates and employs roughly 430 staff.

A total of 12 inmates have died from the virus.

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Five hundred and sixty-four corrections staff have also tested positive for COVID-19 since March, according to data from the DOC, 54 of which are currently positive for the virus.

Two corrections staff members have died. One staff member was from the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville and died on Nov. 16. The other was employed at Clarinda Correctional Facility in Clarinda and died on Nov. 28.

State health officials said barring unforeseen bumps in the road, they expect Iowa to receive roughly 172,000 vaccine doses between Pfizer and Moderna this month. The first batch of Moderna’s vaccine could be delivered the week of Dec. 20, officials said.

The first doses are being made available to Iowa’s hospital and health care workers, as well as staff and residents in long-term care facilities.

Once those Iowans have received the vaccine, state officials said the vaccine will be made available to essential workers who are employed in settings where it is difficult to socially distance, including emergency and law enforcement personnel, food packaging and distribution workers, teachers and school staff and child care workers. Residents in assisted living programs and elder group homes, and adults with medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 illness also will become eligible at that time.

Eventually the vaccine will become available to the rest of the public, but experts say likely won’t be until spring or summer.

The Gazette’s Katie Brumbeloe contributed to this story.

Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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