OSKALOOSA — While numbers continued a recent decline, Iowa still added an average of more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day last week.

It’s the eighth straight week the state has averaged that many cases per day, a streak not seen since last fall's COVID-19 surge.

While cases have declined, deaths continued to rise in the Iowa Department of Public Health’s Wednesday report of new coronavirus numbers. There were 94 new deaths reported in Iowa from last Wednesday through Tuesday.

While added to that data set, most deaths occurred prior to that window as the state delays deaths reporting during its verification process. Of the 94 new deaths, 51 occurred in September and 38 were in October. Two were backdated all the way to May. Six others occurred in August.

Two of the 94 new deaths were of Marion County residents, raising the county’s death toll to 91 since the pandemic began. To date, 6,748 Iowans have died from COVID-19.

Marion County averaged about 15.5 cases per day, or 109 new cases in the seven-day period. Mahaska County reported 89 new cases, or about 12.7 per day.

Children continue to make up a plurality of cases statewide. Of the new cases in the last week, about 1,800, or 22%, were in children age 17 and under. Less than 19% of cases are in Iowans over the age of 60.

Hospitalizations dipped below 600, to 598. However, unvaccinated individuals continue to make up those needing hospital and intensive care unit beds.

Of those in an ICU, 84% were not vaccinated, while 79.2% of those hospitalized hadn’t received their shots.

There are 30 in the hospital that are under the age of 30 years old, and all are unvaccinated. That number includes six children between the ages of 1 and 11 years old, and six from 12-17-years-old.

The number of Iowans fully vaccinated increased by about 11,000 over the prior week. As of Wednesday, there were 1.7 million Iowans fully vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 55.8% of eligible residents of Marion County were fully vaccinated, ranking the county 62nd in the state. Mahaska County is ranked 93rd, with 46.5% of its eligible population vaccinated.

Currently, all Iowans age 12 and up are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.

As of Thursday, all 99 of Iowa’s counties are currently experiencing a high level of community transmission of the virus, according to the CDC, meaning masks are recommended to be worn when inside and in large groups.

The Iowa Department of Public Health releases top-level data on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at coronavirus.iowa.gov, and each Wednesday releases an in-depth data update.

Individuals interested in receiving the vaccine can contact their health care providers, pharmacies or local public health offices. Or, they can also consult with state and federal resources. Iowa offers a COVID-19 hotline that can help schedule appointments at 211, providers can be found at vaccinate.iowa.gov/providers.

Texting your ZIP code to 438829 (or 822862 for Spanish) is a federal service that will reply with three locations with vaccines in stock. The Department of Health and Human Services also has established a website for vaccine information at wecandothis.hhs.gov.

Those needing testing resources should call their local doctor’s office or pharmacy, or can visit testiowa.com for information on receiving free at-home saliva test kits.

Kyle Ocker is the 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 president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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