Daily COVID-19 cases fall below 1,000 for the first time in nearly two months

By: - October 20, 2021 4:59 pm

A medical worker holds a vial of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy of Truman Medical Centers/University Health)

Iowa’s average daily COVID-19 cases fell below 1,000 for the first time in nearly two months, as an early-autumn surge wanes and state politicians rally against federal vaccine mandates.

The daily average number of COVID-19 cases on Wednesday was 965, a 32% decline over the last two weeks, according to the New York Times.

Hospitalizations have fallen less dramatically over the last two weeks, declining by 7%. State data shows there are 557 COVID-19 patients currently in the hospital, 142 of whom are in the intensive care unit. About 80% of Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. 

Iowa’s vaccination rate has crept up slowly: Among all Iowans, including children, 55% of the population is fully vaccinated. Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday the state is expecting its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines for children 5-11 later this week, as the country begins its pediatric rollout.

Reynolds continued to emphasize the importance of personal choice at her Wednesday press conference. She encouraged parents to consult with their child’s pediatrician if they had concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“I believe that parents should be in charge of not only their children’s education, but their children’s health care,” she said.

Reynolds also said she intends to fight against federal vaccine mandates for adults, as proposed by President Joe Biden. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is drafting a rule that would require all large employers in the U.S. to mandate vaccines or weekly COVID tests for their employees.

Reynolds said she is weighing legal options against such a mandate, calling it “a complete overreach.”

“I do not believe that we should make an individual choose between working and putting food on their table or losing their employment because of a mandate,” Reynolds said. “I don’t believe that we should tell our men and women who have put their life on the line, whether it’s law enforcement or military, that they have to get a vaccine or quit.”

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Katie Akin
Katie Akin

Katie Akin is a former Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter. Katie began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.