CORONAVIRUS

Iowa reports 306 new COVID-19 cases, 5 deaths

New U.K. variant found in two Iowa counties

Medical assistant Alex Abodeely seals a container after depositing in it a swab used to collect a patient sample for a c
Medical assistant Alex Abodeely seals a container after depositing in it a swab used to collect a patient sample for a coronavirus test at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Family Medicine Clinic in Iowa City on Monday, April 20, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
CORONAVIRUS ARTICLES

04:08PM | Wed, February 24, 2021

View More CORONAVIRUS Articles

Iowa on Monday reported 306 new COVID-19 cases Monday and five deaths.

The daily update came as state health officials confirmed a new, more contagious variant of COVID-19 has appeared in Iowa.

Health officials said three cases of the variant strain have been confirmed in Iowa, two of them in Johnson County — one in an adult aged 18 to 40 and another in a middle-aged adult between ages 41 and 60. The third was an adult case in Bremer County in northeast Iowa.

The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 variant, often referred to as the U.K. variant because it was first identified in the United Kingdom, spreads more easily than the original strain. The COVID-19 vaccines now being deployed in Iowa are considered effective against it.

Since the virus first appeared in Iowa in early March, 319,506 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 and 4,906 people have died.

Monday’s new cases included 76 cases among young people ages 17 or younger, bringing the total number of youths that have tested positive for the virus to 34,989. No new cases were reported among education workers in the 24-hour reporting period that ended at 11 a.m. Monday.

Seven of the state’s 99 counties reported 14-day positivity rates above 15 percent.

Linn County reported 22 new cases in the 24-hour period, bringing the county’s total number of cases since March to 18,524. The county’s seven-day average of new cases is 65.

Johnson County added 17 new cases during the 24-hour period, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 12,478. The county’s seven-day average is 25.

Vaccines

The Iowa Department of Public Health on Monday reported 256,096 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered across the state. Of those, 134,292 were initiating vaccinations — the first of the two-dose regimen — and 60,902 were second doses.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Data compiled by the Washington Post, shows that more than 25 million people in the United States have received on or both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The analysis showed Iowa has among the lowest vaccination rates in the nation.

For the percent of population that has received a first dose of vaccine, Iowa — at 6 percent — is second from the bottom among U.S. states — topping only Idaho, which has administered first shots to 5.5 percent of its population.

Other Midwestern states are nearly as low as Iowa, according to the Washington Post, with Illinois, Kansas and Missouri, reporting just over 6 percent.

By contrast, Alaska has vaccinated 13 percent of its population, and states like Connecticut, West Virginia, New Mexico, and North Dakota have vaccinated between 9 and 11 percent of their residents.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports Iowa has received 417,900 doses and administered 252,202 — or 7,994 per 100,000 people. In terms of actual people who have received at least one dose, Iowa is at 190,698 — which ranks it better than 14 states, including Kansas and Nebraska.

So far, Iowa has been allocated 341,000 first doses of the vaccine, enough to vaccinate 100 percent of the prioritized population and roughly 10 percent of the state’s population, according to the Post analysis.

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.

Next in line, as of Monday, are Iowans 65 and older. Officials warn more Iowans are eligible for the vaccine than there are doses available.

For Iowans under age 65, you may qualify for a vaccine in February if you meet criteria in the groups below. The tiers of Phase 1B are ranked in order of vaccination priority:

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

• 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.

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

Deaths

The five deaths reported Monday were in three counties: Black Hawk and Scott, with two each, and one in Delaware County.

Four of those deaths were of individuals between 61 and 80, the other was an individual older than 80.

Hospitalizations

The number of patients being treated in Iowa’s hospital rose slightly in the 24-hour period, from 358 to 368. The number of patients in intensive care units dipped from 94 to 92. The number of patients on ventilators declined from 29 to 28.

Long-term care

State data shows there were 55 active COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities, with 1,641 residents or staff testing positive for the virus.

To date, 2,010 nursing home residents have died of the virus.

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

CORONAVIRUS ARTICLES

04:08PM | Wed, February 24, 2021

View More CORONAVIRUS Articles

Support our coverage

Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please subscribe. Your subscription will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.

Support our coverage

Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please subscribe. Your subscription will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.