Iowa COVID-19 cases, deaths, hospitalizations continue to fall

A COVID-19 cell. (Image via National Science Foundation)

Iowa continues to see a steep drop in new COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations, the New York Times reported. 

The state recorded 596 new cases Thursday. Over the past week, the daily average has been 581, down 33% from two weeks ago, the Times reported. 

Deaths are down 57% and hospitalizations 35% lower in the past two weeks, the newspaper added. As of Friday, 137,385 people had received both vaccine doses in Iowa, which has nearly 3.2 million residents.

The state reports 24 current outbreaks at nursing homes, with 679 cases among residents and staff. 

As of Friday afternoon, the state had recorded 358,501 cases and 5,336 deaths since the pandemic started, the Iowa Department of Public Health database showed.

The state reported that on Monday, it updated records for 10,000 individuals who had one or more negative test results, but no address associated with their record. That raised the number of negative results, which state officials said were dispersed through daily totals.

The Washington Post reported that only 14 states have a lower percentage of residents completely vaccinated than Iowa. That is an improvement. Iowa had previously ranked lowest.           

Nationally, 16.6 million people have received both doses. The Biden administration reported Friday that severe weather had delayed shipping of 6 million doses, affecting all 50 states.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said this week she has scrapped both a plan to establish a call center and a proposed contract with Microsoft to establish a central online location to seek a vaccine appointment. The governor said the logistics proved too challenging and she feared disrupting the systems already in place locally around the state. 

County health departments, clinics and participating drug stores typically have instructions on their websites for scheduling an appointment. Many doctors’ offices are contacting their patients when they qualify for a vaccine. 

Many Iowans continue to complain about difficulty getting an appointment, with some surfing medical sites at all hours hoping to find an open slot.