Friday, February 26, 2021

Vaccine update: Get the first COVID-19 vaccine available to you

In this video, Daniel Diekema, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, explains how taking the first COVID-19 vaccine available to you can help reduce your risk of severe symptoms and hospitalization while also protecting those still waiting to be vaccinated.

Frequently asked questions: COVID-19 variants

As of Feb. 23, 10 confirmed cases of the more-contagious B.1.1.7 variant of COVID-19 have been identified in Iowa. UI coronavirus expert Stanley Perlman, MD, PhD, recently answered questions about variants of the COVID-19 virus and how we should respond to their emergence in Iowa. An excerpt is below:

What do we know about the new variants of the COVID-19 virus?
Several new variant strains of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 have been reported, including one (B.1.1.7) that began widely circulating in the United Kingdom at the end of 2020, and two others from South Africa (B.1.351) and Brazil (P.1) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these variants appear to spread more quickly and easily. It is not clear yet if these variants cause more severe illness or increased risk of death.

Why does it matter?
Variants that are more successful at spreading tend to become more dominant. The increased ability of the new variants to spread from person to person means they could cause even more cases than the original strain. Even if the new strains are not more dangerous than the original virus, more cases can lead to an increase in the number of hospitalizations and deaths from the virus, depending on the patient who gets infected and their characteristics.

How do I protect myself from the new COVID-19 variants?
The good news is that all the safety precautions that work to prevent the spread of the original COVID-19 strain—wearing masks, avoiding crowded indoor gatherings, physical distancing, and hand washing—will also work to combat the spread of these new variants. In addition, vaccinations should proceed as quickly as possible since current studies suggest the existing COVID-19 vaccines provide complete or partial protection against these new strains and will also decrease the amount of virus in the community.

Read the full Q&A on the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics website.

University of Iowa self-reported COVID-19 testing

These data reflect new cases since Feb. 24, 2021.

The University of Iowa has published an updated snapshot of self-reported positive COVID-19 tests from faculty, staff, and students.

Number of self-reported cases of COVID-19


  • New cases: 7
  • Total cases: 3,008


  • New cases: 2
  • Total cases: 443

These numbers reflect only self-reported positive or presumed positive COVID-19 tests from UI faculty, staff, and students on the academic campus since Aug. 18, 2020. These data will not match data reported by UI Hospitals & Clinics or by the Iowa Department of Public Health for several reasons, including different testing time intervals and geographic scope. Students who also are employees of the university are only reported in the student number to avoid double counting. The UI has more than 30,000 students and nearly 30,000 employees. Many employees continue to work remotely but have self-reported to authorize sick leave.

Number of residence hall students in quarantine: 1*

Number of residence hall students in self-isolation: 2**

*Quarantine: Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others.

**Self-isolation: Isolation is used to separate people infected with the virus (those who are symptomatic and those with no symptoms) from people who are not infected.