CORONAVIRUS

Iowa sees 1,060 new coronavirus cases

Seven-day average dips below 1,000

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

Iowa recorded 1,060 new positive cases for positive coronavirus cases as of 11 a.m. Saturday for the previous 24-hour period.

With a seven-day average of 926, Saturday marked only the third time since early October when that figure was below 1,000, according to Iowa Department of Public Health data and as analyzed by The Gazette.

New cases

Linn County was listed with 105 positive cases on the state’s website. Johnson County had 24.

Children under the age of 18 had 212 new cases. Four new cases were reported for adults in education occupations.

The top 10 counties for total positive cases were:

1. Polk — 47,749

2. Linn — 18,438

3. Scott — 16,169

4. Black Hawk — 14,337

5. Woodbury — 13,238

6. Johnson — 12,437

7. Dubuque — 11,800

8. Pottawattamie — 9,303

9. Dallas — 9,294

10. Story — 8,994.

Confirmed deaths

Seventy-four confirmed deaths related to the virus were recorded, with almost 64 percent of those — 47 people — above the age of 80.

Two of the deaths reported Saturday morning were in Linn County. One was in Johnson County and one in Benton County.

A total of 4,651 Iowans have died from COVID-19 since March of this past year.

Hospitalizations

There were 376 people in hospitals for the virus, with 84 in intensive-care units and 31 on ventilators.

Long-term care

The state listed 57 current outbreaks at long-term care facilities, with 29 additional deaths related to COVID-19. Thus far, 1,932 deaths have been recorded for long-term care facilities.

The Gardens of Cedar Rapids in Linn County was listed on the state’s website Saturday with 25 positive cases and 21 recoveries.

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Johnson County was noted for Briarwood Health Care Center, with 18 positive cases and 10 recoveries, and Lantern Park Specialty Care, with 40 positive cases and 10 recoveries.

Vaccinations

According to the state’s website Saturday morning, total of 236,608 vaccine doses had been administered to Iowa residents, with 58,183 individuals having received their second dose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed 27.9 million vaccines as having been administered nationwide.

The Iowa Department of Public Health said on Friday some 64,000 doses of vaccine that been allocated for the Long-Term Care Pharmacy Partnership Program will be redistributed to priority populations — residents 65 years and older.

Who is eligible for vaccines?

Front-line health care workers and residents and staff at long-term care facilities are able to get vaccines now.

Iowans 65 and older have moved up in line for vaccinations, starting in February. But other groups have to wait.

Officials warn there are more Iowans eligible than there are vaccine doses available, so it may take weeks for vaccinations to actually begin.

Here’s a look according to Iowa guidelines:

For Iowans under 65, you may qualify for a vaccine starting in February if you meet criteria in the groups below. The tiers 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.

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Those who don’t meet these criteria will have to wait. The state will announce when other ages occupational categories as they qualify.

Website changes

The Iowa Department of Public Health added two features on the state’s COVID-19 website on Friday — a vaccine administration dashboard and a vaccine provider locator tool.

The vaccine administration dashboard shows data visualizations that include the number of individuals who have received one or both doses, the total doses administered by county and administration rates by age group, gender, race and ethnicity

“Each provider included manages their own vaccine information and scheduling,” the department said in a news release in referring to the provider locator tool. “We are working with vaccine providers to update websites and phone numbers.”

The department urged checking an individual facility’s website before calling.

The Gazette’s Stephen Colbert contributed to this report.

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