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Iowans Over 65 Await Chance to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

SPM News 012221 Noon

Governor Kim Reynolds announced yesterday, Iowans 65 and older will soon be eligible for the next wave of COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Governor Reynolds talked about the second tier of COVID vaccination in Iowa, which will eventually immunize more than 530,000 people. Iowans 75 and over, health care workers and staff, and residents at long-term care facilities were given the first batch,

The second tier rollout begins February 1. It will offer vaccines to essential frontline workers, first responders, and teachers. Reynolds says the state cannot open up vaccines to all Iowans just yet.  

Iowa is currently receiving 19,500 doses per week. However, those numbers could change with the new administration in place.

But Gov. Kim Reynolds said the state currently ranks 46th for the number of doses it's allocated. 

The expansion can't come soon enough for Iowa, which is struggling to contain the spread of the coronavirus. On Thursday, the state reported another 1,708 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 51 more deaths from the disease, pushing its pandemic death toll to 4,445.

Eight Siouxland counties reported ten additional COVID-19-related deaths yesterday.

The Iowa Department of Public Health data shows that Woodbury and Dickinson counties added two deaths to their totals. At the same time, Lyon, Osceola, Clay, Plymouth, Buena Vista, and Monona each tallied one. 

The deaths are rising, even though positivity rates and hospitalizations have stabilized in Siouxland. Deaths are a lagging indicator of the pandemic.<--break->

Siouxland District Health Department confirmed 24 new cases of the novel coronavirus in Woodbury County on Thursday, but not the two further deaths. Based on state statistics, the county has a 14-day COVID-19 positivity rate of 11.2 percent and 179 total deaths. 

District Health says 30 patients with the virus were hospitalized at either MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center or UnityPoint Health -- St. Luke's, down two from Wednesday.

Labor unions representing state workers have filed a complaint with the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration, arguing that the lack of a mask mandate at the Iowa Capitol threatens everyone who enters the building. The Iowa Federation of Labor AFL-CIO President sent a letter sent to House Speaker Pat Grassley and Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver on Thursday that their refusal to enact or enforce a mandatory mask policy shows a lack of concern about the coronavirus pandemic. The union and representatives from six other Iowa labor unions filed a complaint Thursday with Iowa OSHA. Whitver and Grassley say they believe they're taking the needed precautions.

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