DES MOINES, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that the state’s vaccination campaign has made a difference in the number of current hospitalizations because of COVID-19. They note most of the recent hospitalizations are unvaccinated Iowans.
IDPH stated the current numbers, 498 as of Wednesday, are “are a fraction” of what they were in November 2020. The state saw its peak on November 17, 2020, with 1,527 hospitalizations. Hospitalizations have steadily increased since June when the state saw a low of 54 on June 20, 2021. There were 89 new admissions on Tuesday.
IDPH reported on Wednesday, 79 percent of individuals hospitalized with a primary COVID-19 diagnosis were not vaccinated, and 86 percent of patients in the ICU were not vaccinated before becoming infected. The hospitalization rate is currently highest among middle-aged to older adults with 87 percent of those hospitalized age 40 and older. Children under the age of 18 account for just two percent of COVID-19 hospitalizations.
The department also reported two additional deaths due to COVID-19. These deaths occurred over a four-week period from July 24-August 22, 2021. Iowa has seen 6,268 deaths related to COVID-19.
“We have many tools we need to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and the single most important tool we have is the vaccine, which is highly effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death. For anyone who was waiting for the assurance of full FDA authorization, I urge you to schedule your appointment today,” Iowa Department of Public Health interim director Kelly Garcia said in a released statement.
IDPH stated that preventing avoidable COVID-19 hospitalizations helps preserve health care resources for other needs, including illnesses, injuries, and emergencies. Some Iowa hospitals have recently reported an increase in hospitalizations among children with RSV, limiting their bed capacity for other patients.
IDPH announced on Wednesday that 48.6 percent of the state’s residents were vaccinated and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 60 percent of Iowans 12 and older are vaccinated. They state that COVID-19 vaccines are “free, safe and available statewide.” Iowans can find a vaccine provider at vacccinateiowa.gov.
If you or a loved one are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, get tested as soon as possible. Symptoms may include coughing, shortness of breath, fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell. Testing is widely available with many convenient options.
Iowans can access testing at the following locations:
- Primary Care Providers
- Urgent Care
- Local and national pharmacies
- Private labs in local communities
Test Iowa At Home:
IDPH and the State Hygienic Lab are partnering to provide Iowans free at-home test kits. These test kits are ideal for a proactive diagnosis. Examples of proactive testing:
- Before upcoming travel, or returning from travel.
- Ensuring negative status before attending events.
- Recent COVID-19 positive and want to ensure a negative result before returning to normal activities.
- To have on hand for family members in case of exposure.
Go to testiowa.com for more information, to order a test kit or find a pick-up site near you.
Iowans are urged not to visit a Hospital Emergency Room for COVID-19 diagnostic testing unless experiencing severe symptoms. An ER visit may expose others in a medically fragile state to the virus as well as place additional strain on hospital resources.
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, you may be able to reduce the severity of your symptoms and prevent bad outcomes by receiving Monoclonal Antibodies. These antibodies can reduce the amount of virus in your body. Monoclonal Antibodies do not contain the virus that causes COVID-19. It’s important to do this before your symptoms progress to ensure the best possible outcome. Talk with your healthcare provider about whether this is the right option for you. Find options near you by visiting here.