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Iowa health officials report nearly quarter of COVID-19 tests are positive in past two weeks

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COVID-19 hospitalizations in Iowa are nearing 1,000 as the highly-transmittable omicron variant is now the dominant strain.

State health officials are reporting COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to increase, now nearing 1,000.

Officials announced Wednesday that 991 Iowans are hospitalized, up from 923 last week. It marks the third week in a row that state hospitalizations have increased.

The 14-day test positivity rate also continues to rise, with 24.8 percent – or nearly a quarter – of all COVID tests coming back positive in the past two weeks.

Officials reported 36,823 positive tests in the past seven days.

Gov. Kim Reynolds told reporters Wednesday this increase is due to the highly-transmittable omicron variant.

"I would go to the New York Times and I would pull up the map of Iowa. It is solid red from one corner to the other," she said. "No matter what you do, or what's happening, the omicron has been...very contagious, and it is spreading."

Officials confirmed an additional 116 deaths in the past week, bringing the state’s total death count to more than 8,317.

56.7 percent of all Iowans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Natalie Krebs is IPR's Health Reporter