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IA COVID Hospitalizations Increase; Vaccine Supplies Tossed Out

News 081221 304

After roughly a half-year of precipitous decline, new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been increasing sharply over the past two months, according to state public health data.

The 214 Iowans hospitalized with COVID is roughly quadruple what it was two months ago, and the highest since April. And the rolling, two-week average of daily new cases is seven times higher than it was just more than six weeks ago. That state data is now updated only once per week, instead of multiple times daily, under a recent change made by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

Iowa has tossed out tens of thousands of expired COVID-19 vaccine doses and could toss out hundreds of thousands more if demand for the vaccine continues to lag in the state. 

The Iowa Department of Public Health tells the Des Moines Register that the state has tossed more than 81,000 doses of the vaccine. The department warned last month that the state might have to discard around 217,000 doses by the end of August unless demand picked up. Officials say they’ve seen some more interest in the shots recently, as the cases have surged over the summer. But demand is still far below what it was in April.

Nebraska's biggest health care systems announced today that they will require all their employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 as they continue to deal with the current surge of virus cases in the state.

The companies involved issued a joint statement that included CHI Health, Nebraska Medicine, Methodist Health System, Bryan Health, Children's Hospital and several other large health care employers. Most of those companies will require all employees to be vaccinated by Nov. 1 unless they receive an exemption for religious or medical 

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