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Iowa coronavirus positivity rate, hospitalizations rise

DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa’s coronavirus positivity rate has been rising along with the number of people hospitalized and in intensive care, according to state public health data.

Some health experts feared spring weather and the belief that the coronavirus pandemic is waning would lead people to let down their guard, driving up virus activity.

Iowa reported 641 new confirmed positive cases and six additional deaths on Thursday, increasing the death toll to 5,689. Hospitalizations rose to 207 after they had declined to under 200 in late February.

The state has delivered 1.37 million doses of vaccine, and more than 877,000 people have had at least one dose. Still, just 16.8% of the state’s total population has been fully vaccinated.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday the state expected to receive 128,000 doses of vaccine next week, about 25,000 more than it received in the past two weeks. That total includes 18,000 Johnson & Johnson doses that Reynolds said would be used for employer vaccination clinics next week. She has used the one-dose vaccine for workers in food processing and other manufacturing settings.

Reynolds said the state is still on track to expand vaccination to all adults beginning April 5, she said.