Iowa's COVID vaccine allocation to rise this week

(Des Moines, IA) -- Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says the federal government is releasing more COVID vaccine doses to states. Reynolds says the federal government plans to increase allocations by five percent, for a total of 11-million doses nationwide. She says Iowa should start getting about 50-thousand more doses starting this Friday.

Reynolds says says a federal retail pharmacy program is beginning this week, which should also make more vaccine available.

Reynolds says her administration continues to work with federal officials, to increase the allocation to the state. Iowa ranks near the bottom of states in terms of COVID vaccine allocations. Reynolds says she's been told allocations are based on population. Iowa maintains the state should get more doses, because of its larger, older and more vulnerable population.

The governor says metrics continue to improve, and the state's positivity rate is in the single digits. She says hospitalizations are below 300, -an 80-percent drop from the peak last November. Outbreaks at long term care facilities have fallen from 166 outbreaks to 33.

A new state proclamation took effect Sunday, February 7th easing COVID mitigations. The proclamation lifts requirements to ensure social distancing, limits on gatherings, face mask requirements, and eases restrictions on hours of operation. Reynolds says the stricter rules went into effect in mid-November, when the COVID cases were surging.

"Iowans doubled down, and it made all the difference. Over time COVID cases dropped, hospitalizations stabilized, and we began to relax some of the extra mitigation measures. Because, as I said from the beginning, they were never to be in place permanently, my approach has been consistent from the very beginning of COVID-19, when virus activity increases, we'll increase mitigation efforts and when it comes back down, we'll adjust accordingly," Said Reynolds.

Reynolds says she's confident that Iowans will continue to wear a mask to protect against the virus. She also says she expects businesses to continue taking precautions.

"I'm not saying go out and be carefree, and not be responsible, I'm saying I trust Iowans to do the right thing, and I know our business are doing the right thing, they're doing it every day, our schools are doing the right thing," said Reynolds.

A number of cities in the state have indicated they plan to keep mask mandate ordinances in place, despite the revised state proclamation. The Iowa Attorney General's Office says such ordinances are not enforceable.

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