People over 65 will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine Feb. 1, said Governor Kim Reynolds in a press conference Thursday, although she warned that the demand for the COVID-19 vaccine will “vastly exceed supply. This process is just going to take time.”

The state had started by vaccinating what officials called phase 1A, including health care personnel and residents and staff of long-term care facilities, said Kelly Garcia, interim director of the Iowa Department of Public Health. With demand in those groups dying down, Garcia said it’s time to move to the next phase — 1B, which now includes Iowans 65 and older and other high-risk individuals.

Reynolds said that 500,000 Iowans 65 and older will be eligible for the vaccine. Another 130,000 people in law enforcement, pre-kindergarten-12 grade staff and childcare workers, will be eligible for vaccines in early-February, she said. An additional four tiers will be phased in as possible, she said.

“Vaccines are coming,” said Reynolds. “Once we complete 1B, we will have vaccinated half of Iowa’s eligible population.”

That assumes that Iowa continues to receive promised amounts of the vaccine, she said. “‘Any changes will impact the pace of vaccination and our ability to move to the next tier.”

The state is receiving 19,500 doses of the vaccine per week, according to Reynolds. Officials had been told that it would start getting up to 39,000 doses by Feb. 8, plus 10,000 additional doses per week through March 1.

For information on getting the vaccine, the Warren County Public Health web site says to call: Warren County Health Services at 515-961-1074, MercyOne Indianola at 515-961-8448, UnityPoint Indianola, 515-961-3700, UnityPoint Norwalk, 515-285-3200 and Indianola Hy-Vee, at 515-962-9444. Medicap Pharmacies in Carlisle, Indianola and Norwalk also are providing the vaccine. To get to a scheduling page, click on the city name or call: Carlisle, 515-989-3261, Indianola, 515-961-5303 or Norwalk, 515-285-2026.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported Thursday that Warren County’s positivity rate — the percent of people testing positive for the virus — had dropped to 16.5 percent, the lowest is has been since Jan. 6.

According to the state web site, Warren County has had a total of 4,463 cases since the pandemic began.

The county added 41 cases of the virus between Wednesday and Thursday, with the 50125/Indianola zip code adding 18 cases for a total of 1,775 since the pandemic began, according to the Warren County Public Health Department. The 50211/Norwalk zip code added 10 cases and has had a total of 1,288 cases since the virus began.

Other communities adding cases include the 50320/Des Moines zip code with four, 50047/Carlisle with three cases and 50229/Prole with two, according to Warren County Public Health. Four communities added one case each, including 50118/Hartford, 50139/Lacona, 50240/St. Charles and 50160/Martensdale.

Simpson College added six additional cases of COVID on Thursday, according to the Simpsonian, the college’s student newspaper, for a total of 13 cumulative cases since the semester began on Tuesday.

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