NEWS: COVID-19 vaccine in Oskaloosa

A nurse draws a COVID-19 vaccine made by Moderna from a vile in this Dec. 23, 2020 file photo.

OTTUMWA — As cases continue to rise, the Iowa Department of Public Health says the state has one of the highest vaccine administration rates in the country.

Numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirm the claim, with Iowa’s rate distributed per capita the 16th best state in the nation.

A new report from the Iowa Department of Public Health Monday says there have been 91,501 doses of the vaccine administered in the state, as of Sunday. There have been 85,382 Iowans who have received their first shot, and 5,652 have received both shots.

Both COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved require two doses to be effective.

The CDC has been releasing data for several days, but the new releases from the state public health department provide county-level detail. The state says they will update numbers every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“We are working to bring a more robust and dynamic dashboard of our vaccine progress online in the coming weeks,” IDPH interim director Kelly Garcia said. “Iowans can expect to see additional data points that will clearly illustrate the progress we are making in vaccinating Iowans.”

There have been 565 Wapello County residents to receive the vaccine. Just five have completed the two-dose regime so far.

Across the area, 222 have received a dose in Jefferson, 197 in Appanoose, 193 in Monroe, 134 in Davis and 105 in Van Buren.

In Iowa, groups in the so-called phase 1A are the only ones able to receive the vaccine. This includes health care personnel as well as residents and staff in long-term care facilities. The state is still working on its distribution plan, and promises more information in the coming weeks.

The CDC reports that nearly 9 million Americans have received the first dose of the vaccine as of Monday morning. There have been about 25.5 million doses distributed.

The vaccinations continue while the virus keeps spreading its effects across the state.

There were 425 new cases of the coronavirus reported in Iowa between Sunday and Monday, with just 1,636 individuals tested in that period. There were eight new cases in Wapello County, seven in Appanoose, two in Monroe and on in Van Buren.

Iowa reported just one new death on Monday.

The rampant spread of the virus continues in Monroe County, with the 14-day positivity rate now up to 36.1%. It remains the highest in the state.

Hospitalizations rose slightly to 555 statewide. There were 96 in an intensive care unit. The last 24 hours saw 74 new admissions.

As more vaccines are manufactured and distributed, health officials say continuing efforts to mitigate virus spread remain important. Those efforts include wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, clean hands frequently with soap and water, and stay home when feeling sick.

Kyle Ocker is the group editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the first vice president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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