Vaccinations slow, infections climb in Iowa

By: - August 27, 2021 3:36 pm

(Photo by Javier Zayas Photography/Getty Images)

Iowa’s effort to increase vaccinations for COVID-19 appears to have stalled, with 51% of the population fully vaccinated.

Over the past week, only 12 other states have seen a greater slowdown in new vaccinations. Meanwhile, only 13 other states have seen a bigger increase in new infections over that same time period, according to the Washington Post’s coronavirus tracker.

In the past week, the daily count of new infections in Iowa topped 2,500. The weekly average of new infections is up 25% over the past seven days.

The number of newly reported deaths in Iowa remains relatively low, now averaging six per day, but that number has increased 200% in the past week. The more concerning number for Iowans is the number of hospitalizations, which has increased 14% in the past week, according to the Post.

The Iowa counties with the lowest percentage of residents fully vaccinated continue to be those in the more conservative southern and western areas of the state. Only 31% of Davis County residents, located on the Missouri border, are fully vaccinated.

Decatur and Van Buren counties, also on the Missouri border, and Lyon and Sioux counties on the South Dakota border, are all within the range of 34% to 35% of residents who are fully vaccinated.

Masks required in Iowa courts

The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday issued a supervisory order requiring face coverings for all people entering court-controlled areas in all 99 counties, regardless of a person’s vaccination status or the area’s positivity rate.

More nursing homes with outbreaks

Two more nursing home outbreaks of COVID-19 were reported in Iowa on Friday, bringing the total number of known care facility outbreaks to nine.

The new outbreaks are located at the Independent Order of Odd Fellows’ Home and Community Therapy Center in Cerro Gordo County, and at Maple Crest Manor in Fayette, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The department has not disclosed the number of infections associated with each of those outbreaks.

The addition of the two homes to the list of long-term care outbreaks in Iowa means there are now at least nine current, active outbreaks.

The other seven locations are Kingsley Specialty Care in Plymouth County; Pinnacle Specialty Care in Black Hawk County; Hubbard Care Center in Hardin County; Montrose Health Center in Lee County; West Ridge Specialty Care in Marion County; the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshall County; and the Newton Health Care Center in Jasper County.

As of Friday afternoon, the IDPH website was listing only eight outbreaks in long-term care facilities. The website’s count does not include the Newton outbreak, which the facility itself reported to the public five days ago. IDPH confirmed that outbreak on Thursday.

This story has been updated to correct the location of Sioux and Lyon counties, which border South Dakota, not Nebraska.

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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.

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