BREAKING: Omicron Ripping Through Iowa, Covid Numbers Soaring; New Restrictions Coming?
BREAKING NEWS: The omicron covid variant has begun ripping through Iowa, with the number of confirmed cases leaping across seven counties, as for the third week in a row covid numbers have soared across the state, prompting some to wonder if new restrictions including mask mandates and remote learning for schools may be on the way.
Omicron has now infected people in Black Hawk, Jefferson, Johnson, Linn, Polk, Scott and Story counties, according to the latest numbers from the Iowa Department of Public Health. The total number of confirmed infections has gone from one to almost two dozen in a little over a week, and officials say there are likely many more cases out there that have yet to be confirmed.
There are a total of 18 confirmed cases, with just 13 alone coming on Friday, said Iowa Department of Public Health spokesperson Sarah Ekstrand in a statement.
Iowa covid cases, deaths, and hospitalizations continued to hit new highs for the year, as they have every week over the last month. There were 130 covid deaths over the past week, 810 people being treated for covid in Iowa hospitals, and 10,476 new cases over the past week.
The vast majority of the cases are among unvaccinated people, as is the case in neighboring Illinois where over 96 percent of the cases are from unvaccinated individuals. Over 80 percent of the covid patients in Iowa hospitals are completely unvaccinated.
Only 55 percent of Iowans are fully vaccinated.
Children under 18 make up over 20 percent of the positive case results of the past week, reflecting a growing trend in Iowa of some officials calling for a return to a statewide mask mandate, particularly in schools. However, many Iowans and government officials, as well as many school districts, are very much against any mask mandates returning.
Numbers from the Iowa Department of Public Health show a negative trend for the state, demonstrating that it’s headed to higher numbers of COVID-19 positivity as the winter months begin, based upon numbers from last fall and winter.
In November and December 2020, Iowa had a massive surge in covid cases, causing Gov. Kim Reynolds to shut down the state and implement mask mandates. However, she rescinded those mandates in spring of 2021, after covid numbers declined statewide.
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