Iowa virus rate rises as officials advise continued caution

Iowa governor gets J&J vaccine (RAW)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa on Friday was among less than a dozen states with a trend of more coronavirus cases as federal officials urged leaders to continue restrictions on mask wearing and social distancing.

The 14-day positivity rate showed Iowa was one of 10 states seeing an increase in confirmed virus cases, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate also has risen over the past two weeks from 14.15% on Feb. 18 to 19.37% on March 4.

State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Iowa the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by people tested using data from The COVID Tracking Project.

Iowa’s increasing infection numbers come as Gov. Kim Reynolds has ended her orders requiring masks in public places and social distancing. Several other states have taken similar moves, leading President Joe Biden and health officials to criticize such steps and urge officials to retain restrictions for a few more months.

Iowa public health officials reported 564 new confirmed cases and 13 additional deaths on Friday, bringing the total number of deaths to 5,549 . The state’s per capita death rate is 16th highest in the nation at 175.8 deaths per 100,000 people, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The most recent CDC data shows Iowa has received just over 1 million doses of vaccine and has administered over 773,000 doses. The CDC report said 6.5% of the population has received both doses of vaccine for full immunization, the second-lowest rate in the nation.

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