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Iowa virus deaths top 8,000 and more people hospitalized

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa has surpassed 8,000 deaths from COVID-19, the state reported Wednesday as virus infections increased and significantly more children were hospitalized with the virus.

The Iowa Department of Public Health posted 19,049 confirmed positive tests in the past week, and the state positivity rate increased to 14.9%, a sign of a high level of virus transmission. All 99 counties have a high rate of spread, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC said Iowa’s seven-day moving average of positive cases stood at 2,416 per day, the highest level since November 2020.

Total deaths in Iowa rose to 8,019, including 161 additional deaths that date back as far as Oct. 13, according to state data. The National Center for Health Statistics, an agency of the CDC, lists Iowa’s deaths involving COVID-19 at 8,029.

The main contributors to additional deaths recently was the virulent delta variant surge, pandemic fatigue that led to less masking and distancing and many unvaccinated people, said Dr. Dan Diekema, an infectious disease specialist at University of Iowa Health Care.

Iowa hospitals were treating 792 people infected with the virus, up from 768 reported Monday. Among those in hospitals were 14 children age 11 or younger, 11 children between age 12 and 17 and six aged 18 or 19. The state also reported 40 people in their 20s and 40 people in their 30s in hospitals. Most hospitalized people are unvaccinated.

Iowa public health officials said 16% of children age 5 to 11 were fully vaccinated.

Iowa has 59.2% of its population fully vaccinated. The CDC said nearly 35% of Iowans remain unvaccinated, still having not received at least one dose of vaccine.

The omicron variant is now Iowa’s dominant strain, comprising up to 90% of cases, Diekema said.

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