CORONAVIRUS

Iowa passes 500,000 mark in administered COVID-19 vaccinations

An illustration picture shows vials with Covid-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceuti
An illustration picture shows vials with Covid-19 Vaccine stickers attached and syringes with the logo of US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German partner BioNTech, on November 17, 2020. (Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

More than 500,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccination have been administered as of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The new milestone comes as state officials are facing criticism for what has been deemed Iowa public health officials called poor planning when it comes to distribution.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has also faced criticism for not implementing a statewide registration process or call center.

On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that health officials blamed inadequate preparation, confusing communication and a lack of staff and resources at local agencies for Iowa’s lagging vaccine distribution.

For weeks, Iowa has been ranked as one of the worst states when it comes to vaccinating its citizens, and on Saturday it had the 15th-lowest rate, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

Vaccinations

As of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, the total number of COVID-19 vaccine doses in the state was 509,090 with 488,936 being administered to Iowa residents, according to IDPH.

Individuals with the first dose were 254,292 and the number of individuals completing the vaccination was 127,399.

In Linn County, 35,103 total doses of the vaccine have been administered. The number of individuals in the county who have completed the vaccine is 9,154 or 5.25 percent of the county.

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In Johnson County, 36,304 total doses of the vaccine have been administered. The number of individuals in Johnson County who have completed the vaccine is 11,444 or 9.45 percent of the county.

New Cases

Iowa reported 621 new COVID-19 cases and 43 new, confirmed deaths between 11 a.m. Tuesday and 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The new numbers bring the state’s total number of cases to 330,434 and confirmed deaths to 5,306, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Iowa’s seven-day average for new cases is 574, the lowest number since 567 on Aug. 24.

Wednesday’s new, confirmed cases come from 3409 new test, the remaining 2,788 of which came back negative or inconclusive.

Locally, Linn County added 20 new virus cases on Wednesday, bringing the county total to 19,150. The county’s seven-day average is 25, the lowest recorded since 25 on Sept. 4.

Johnson County reported 16 new cases for a total of 12,867. Johnson’s seven-day average is 18, the lowest recorded since 19 on Oct. 7.

Of the state’s new cases, 97 were of individuals aged 0-17, bringing the total number of minors infected with COVID-19 in Iowa to 36,942.

Confirmed Deaths

The state added 43 new, confirmed deaths on Wednesday, according to IDPH data.

The deaths occurred between Dec. 9 and Feb. 13. Of the new deaths listed, 22 were individuals over the age of 80; 14 were individuals aged 61-80, and seven were adult aged 41-60.

Polk County reported six deaths and Johnson County reported four.

Counties that reported two deaths each were Black Hawk, Boone, Hamilton, Monona and Washington.

Counties that reported one death each include: Adair, Appanoose, Benton, Buchanan, Calhoun, Cedar, Clinton, Dallas, Decatur, Dubuque, Fayette, Hancock, Hardin, Humboldt, Jefferson, Lee, Lyon, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Story, Tama, Webster and Woodbury.

Hospitalizations

Across the state, hospitalizations due to COVID-19 declined 255 to 235 in the 24-hour period as of 11 a.m. Patients in the ICU remained dipped from 57 to 52 — the lowest number recorded since 49 on Sept. 9 — and the number of patients on ventilators dropped from 25 to 20, the lowest recorded since Aug. 9.

Long-Term Care Facilities

As of Tuesday, 29 of Iowa’s long-term care facilities were experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks. Within those facilities, 791 individuals were positive with the virus. Since the start of the pandemic, 2,137 individuals within facilities have died.

Who Can Get 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.

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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.

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

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