COVID Positivity Rates Soar in 2 Iowa Counties Where Vaccination Rates Are Below 50 Percent

As COVID cases rise in several parts of the country once again, Iowa's Department of Health released data Monday showing another increase in cases over the past week, the most significant jumps in counties with less than half of the population fully vaccinated.

The department confirmed 12,254 cases in the state over the past week, up from a reported 9,706 last Friday and 8,221 reported last Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

Two counties in the state, Harrison and Fremont, that have below 50 percent of their eligible populations vaccinated reported positivity rates over 30 percent.

Iowa reported a 16 percent positivity rate over the last week, making it the sixth-highest in the country, trailing only the 19 percent rate from Nebraska, Michigan and New Mexico as well as a 17 percent rate in Indiana and South Dakota, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The increase in cases comes as a recent poll showed over a third of Americans surveyed called the pandemic a "major source of stress" that has impacted their mental health, as well as the ability to maintain romantic and personal relationships.

Generation Z Americans, aged 13-24, reported the highest levels of stress during the pandemic.

The continuing addition to the country's death toll also prompted recent public comments from former President Donald Trump saying President Joe Biden, his opponent in the 2020 election, should resign because of Biden's previous comments.

Biden said last year that anyone responsible for the number of deaths that occurred under Trump's watch, at the time about 220,000 and just over 424,000 when Biden was inaugurated, should not be allowed to remain in office.

The CDC's estimated death toll under Biden's administration in 2021 is over 400,000, and would likely pass the number of deaths during the Trump administration in the next few weeks or months if deaths continue at their current rate.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Iowa, COVID Cases and Hospitalizations
Iowa reported one of the highest COVID positivity rates in the country over the past week as cases and hospitalizations rise in several areas across the country. The State Capital of Iowa reflects the sunset on November 6, 2018 in Des Moines, Iowa. David Greedy/Getty Images

There were 721 people hospitalized with the virus. Of those, 162 were in intensive care, up from 156 reported Friday.

Testing in Iowa identified more than 1,300 cases a day on average over the past week.

All Iowa counties have a high rate of spread and the CDC recommended wearing a mask in public indoor settings.

The CDC said Iowa has 57.2 percent of its population fully vaccinated, ranking it 24th in the nation. One-third of Iowans age 5 and older remain unvaccinated.