Like most of the country, Iowa has experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in recent weeks.
Because of the success of our vaccine campaign, current numbers are a fraction of what they were in November 2020, when the state experienced its highest level of virus activity.
The majority of current COVID-19 hospitalizations are among unvaccinated Iowans. On August 25, 79% of individuals hospitalized with a primary COVID-19 diagnosis were not vaccinated while 21% were vaccinated. Meanwhile 86% of patients in the ICU were not vaccinated before becoming infected while 14% were vaccinated. The hospitalization rate is currently highest among middle age to older adults. 87% of those hospitalized are age 40 and older. Children under the age of 18 account for just 2% of COVID-19 hospitalizations.
“We have many tools we need to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and the single most important tool we have is the vaccine, which is highly effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death. For anyone who was waiting for the assurance of full FDA authorization, I urge you to schedule your appointment today,” shared Iowa Department of Public Health interim director Kelly Garcia.
Preventing avoidable COVID-19 hospitalizations also helps preserve health care resources for other needs, including illnesses, injuries and emergencies. Some Iowa hospitals have recently reported an increase in hospitalizations among children with RSV, limiting their bed capacity for other patients.
Today, the Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting 42 additional deaths due to COVID-19. These deaths occurred over a four-week period from July 24-August 22, 2021.
There are a number of things Iowans can do to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 and prevent spreading the virus in their communities:
According to the CDC, over 60% of Iowans 12 and older are fully vaccinated and there have been recent increases daily vaccine administration rates.
All Iowans over the age of 12 are eligible to get the COVID-29 vaccine. Vaccines are free, safe and available statewide. Find a vaccine provider at vacccinateiowa.gov. Iowans with questions about the vaccine should contact their healthcare provider. Click here for information on who is currently eligible for an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
If you or a loved one are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, get tested as soon as possible. Symptoms may include coughing, shortness of breath, fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell. Testing is widely available with many convenient options.
Iowans can access testing at the following locations:
- Primary Care Providers
- Urgent Care
- Local and national pharmacies
- Private labs in local communities
Test Iowa At Home:
IDPH and the State Hygienic Lab are partnering to provide Iowans free at-home test kits. These test kits are ideal for a proactive diagnosis. Examples of proactive testing:
- Before upcoming travel, or returning from travel.
- Ensuring negative status before attending events.
- Recent COVID-19 positive and want to ensure a negative result before returning to normal activities.
- To have on hand for family members in case of exposure.
Go to testiowa.com for more information, to order a test kit or find a pick-up site near you.
Iowans are urged not to visit a Hospital Emergency Room for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, unless experiencing severe symptoms. An ER visit may expose others in a medically fragile state to the virus as well as place additional strain on hospital resources.
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you may be able to reduce the severity of your symptoms and prevent bad outcomes by receiving Monoclonal Antibodies. These antibodies can reduce the amount of virus in your body. Monoclonal Antibodies do not contain the virus that causes COVID-19. It’s important to do this before your symptoms progress to ensure the best possible outcome. Talk with your healthcare provider about whether this is the right option for you. Find options near you by visiting here.
While there are multiple tools available to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the vaccine remains the strongest and Iowans should get vaccinated as soon as possible.