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Iowa post-Thanksgiving surge spills into Christmas week

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — After experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths after the Thanksgiving holiday, Iowa goes into Christmas week with continued high widespread virus activity and no significant gains in vaccination.

The Iowa Department of Public Health said 788 people were hospitalized on Monday, a slight decline from Friday’s 810. The agency said 171 people remained in intensive care, one person less than on Friday.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows more than 10,700 cases and 112 additional deaths have been reported in the past seven days in Iowa, where 7,680 people have died.

The CDC says 64.1% of Iowans have received at least one dose of vaccine, leaving more than 35% of the population still unvaccinated.

Eastern Iowa hospitals Mercy Cedar Rapids and UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s announced last week they would postpone elective surgeries that weren’t urgent until after Christmas because of the increased patient load “has placed increasing strain on both hospitals’ capacity and staffing.”

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