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Iowa to update COVID metrics online on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays

"It is our goal to highlight the critical information Iowans want more frequently," Interim IDPH Director Kelly Garcia said Thursday.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Public Health announced Thursday it will update key metrics on its online COVID-19 dashboard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays due to increased virus activity.

After publishing numbers in real-time starting in May 2020, IDPH shifted to weekly updates each Wednesday in July 2021.

"We're reformatting our COVID website to highlight the things we think make the most sense to focus on," IDPH interim director Kelly Garcia said at a press conference Thursday.

This includes making hospitalization data more prominent and adding a metric showing the vaccination status of COVID-19 patients both in hospitals and ICUs.

Gov. Kim Reynolds encouraged Iowans to get vaccinated while defending the state laws against mask and vaccine mandates.

"I'm going to put my confidence in [Iowans], they're going to make that decision ... we don't know all of their health decisions," Reynolds said.

Before Thursday, it had been nearly four months since Reynolds held a press conference specifically about the state's ongoing response to COVID-19.

On May 5, Reynolds urged more Iowans to get vaccinated to help end the pandemic. Many counties denied vaccine allocations because of waning demand. 

As of Sept. 1, COVID activity is near the same level as what the state saw in Oct. 2020. The graph below compares positive test data from 2020 to 2021. The orange line is 2020 and the dark blue line is 2021. 

Credit: WOI
Data from the Iowa Department of Public Health as of Sept. 1, 2021, shows 2021 positive cases (blue line) are increasing faster than they did in 2020 (orange line).

The number of confirmed positive tests in June 2021 was very low compared to June 2020, but that number is now increasing faster than it did last year.

Hospitalizations are another major concern for county health departments. As of Thursday morning, the IDPH reports 524 Iowans are hospitalized. 

Watch the press conference on YouTube

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