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Reynolds, Garcia explain recent uptick in COVID-19 numbers, urge vaccination

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JOHNSTON, Iowa (KWWL) -- During Wednesday's press conference, Governor Reynolds and Iowa Department of Public Health Director Kelly Garcia provided insight into factors that may be contributing to a recent increase in COVID-19 cases.

Reynolds said that the White House has emphasized to governors that there must be continued efforts to manage virus activity until the majority of populations are vaccinated.

Reynolds says numbers are stabilized compared to the state's spike in November and December.

"Our positivity rate is under 5 percent, hospitalizations are under 200, and there are 2 long-term care facility outbreaks that account for a combined total of 16 cases," Reynolds said.

READ MORE: Gov. Reynolds asks Iowans to remain patient as vaccine eligibility opens to all adults on Monday

However, positive cases are still slightly increasing, which Garcia says is partly due to spring break travel and an increase in the number of variant cases.

"We must still recognize that the virus is circulating in our state and we're seeing that in the numbers," Garcia said.

Iowa currently has 89 cases of the U.K. COVID-19 variant, according to the CDC. Nationally, there are three separate variants of the virus circulating, which health officials say are more easily spread.

Both Reynolds and Garcia emphasized that it's important for people to get the vaccine when it becomes available, something the governor has been stressing for weeks. On Monday, April 5, the state plans to open eligibility to all adults.

Garcia said that around one-third of the virus activity over the past week is between the age group of 18-29.

While some younger people may think they do not need to receive the vaccine, Garcia asks them to think about the health and safety of their community.

"You don't want to be the person who spreads this virus to those in your community," Garcia said. "This is a community action and we need everyone to participate. You all need to do your part to continue this path throughout our pandemic response. And thank you for doing your part."

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Andrew Pearce

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