COVID-19

OSKALOOSA — There were another 841 cases of the coronavirus confirmed in Iowans between Monday and Tuesday, with 17 new cases reported in Mahaska.

The Iowa Department of Public Health added 10 more deaths to its data, upping the state’s death toll to 4,919 since March. None of the new deaths were reported in the Herald’s coverage area.

Marion County added nine new cases of the virus on Tuesday.

The number of active cases has declined below the 30,000 mark in Iowa. After peaking at more than 95,000 in late November, it’s the first time active cases have declined below 30,000 since late October.

While numbers of new cases have dropped, the rate of positive tests around the state remains nearly double what is deemed safe by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Tuesday morning, Iowa had a statewide 14-day positivity rate of 9.6%. The CDC says 5% and above indicates wide community spread.

The rate in Mahaska County was up to 13.3% on Tuesday, and the rate was down to 10.8% in Marion.

In Iowa, 390 were hospitalized with COVID-19, up by 22 from the previous day. There were 88 patients in an intensive care unit, on par with yesterday’s report.

There have been 60,902 Iowans who have received both shots of a COVID-19 vaccine — 554 from Marion and 217 from Mahaska. Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses before they are fully effective, and currently they are the only vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The White House said Tuesday states would receive another 5% bump in vaccine supply, this is on top of the prior bump. The Biden Administration says it will maintain the minimum supply level for the next three weeks as it continues to work with manufacturers to ramp up production.

The administration also announced it will partner with more than 40,000 pharmacies across the country to begin vaccinations on Feb. 11. The program would ship vaccines directly to select pharmacies, instead of them being distributed through the states.

The program will initially include national chains, but won’t be immediately available in all 50 states.

As of Monday, the CDC reported that 5.9 million Americans have received both doses of the vaccine, and another 26 million have received the first dose.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Oskaloosa Herald and the Ottumwa Courier. He can be reached at kocker@oskyherald.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 president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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