The latest update this weekend shows public health officials have confirmed 6,000 Iowans have died of Covid-19 since the pandemic began.
Forty percent of the Iowans who’ve died of Covid were nursing home residents. About 55% of the Covid-19 deaths in Iowa occurred in November, December and January. Data is still be collected, but it appears the number of total deaths in Iowa increased 15% last year and Covid will be the third-leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer.
Late Friday, state officials urged schools and child care centers to drop mask mandates and let parents and students make their own decisions about face coverings. The move came after the Centers for Disease Control announced fully vaccinated adults do not need to wear masks outdoors or in most indoor settings.
The CDC recommends schools keep Covid prevention strategies in place for the rest of the school year. The Iowa Department of Public Health recommends that students who have symptoms or who’ve tested positive for Covid stay home, but the agency’s director says school-ordered quarantine policies for others who may have been exposed should end.