Iowa continues to lag behind other states in testing and in vaccinations

By: - January 20, 2021 3:15 pm

When it comes to testing for the coronavirus, Iowa continues to rank last among the 50 states.. (Photo via National Institutes of Health)

When it comes to testing for the coronavirus, Iowa continues to rank last among the 50 states.

Data from the Washington Post indicates that Iowa has tested the fewest residents, on a per capita basis, of any state in the nation. The data shows that over the past week, Iowa has tested 606 of every 100,000 residents. Only Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa recorded a lower level of testing than Iowa over that same period.

On a per capita basis, most states have reported testing at least five times as many residents as Iowa.

Iowa also lags behind most other states in terms of vaccine delivery. The Washington Posts’ vaccine tracker indicates that one-half of 1% of the state’s population has received a completed dose of the vaccine. Only eight other states — Utah, Virginia, Maryland, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Ohio — have a lower rate of completed vaccines.

Iowa recorded eight more coronavirus deaths on Tuesday, along with 1,220 new infections. Over the past week, the state has averaged 1,150 new cases of the virus each day, a decrease of 19% from two weeks ago, according to the New York Times’ COVID-19 tracker.

Over the past week, only seven states have reported fewer deaths per capita than Iowa, the Washington Post reported. In terms of infections, however, the reverse is true: Only seven other states have a higher per capita rate of infection over the life of the pandemic.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports that there are 474 Iowans hospitalized with the virus — a significant reduction from the 1,500 reported in mid-November, but still three times the numbers that were reported in July. IDPH also reported that 85 Iowans with the virus were admitted to hospitals in the previous 24 hours — an increase of 47% from the 56 new admissions reported the previous day.

The department also reported 71 active COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes, down from the 73 reported on Tuesday. There are 1,900 infections associated with those outbreaks, which is a slight increase from the 1,881 resident-and-staff infections reported the previous day.

Since the pandemic began, 1,805 nursing home residents have died of COVID-19.

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Clark Kauffman
Clark Kauffman

Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.