Secretary Azar cites ‘concerning’ Covid trends in Iowa


RADIO IOWA – U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is encouraging Iowans who’ve recovered from Covid to donate their plasma.

About 2200 Covid patients in Iowa have been treated with convalescent plasma. The product is available at 43 Iowa hospitals.

“American enjoy access to convalescent plasma than patients in any other country,” Azar said.

Azar, who toured a blood center in Des Moines where plasma is being collected, said Iowa is among the states where Covid cases are rising and, as the weather gets colder, he urged residents to avoid the risks of socializing in groups.

“That means family gatherings, it means neighborhood get-togethers,” Azar said. “…We are seeing increasing numbers of community spread throughout the Midwest, upper Midwest, northern plains from these types of casual household gatherings.”

A record number of 482 patients are being treated in Iowa hospitals for Covid. Azar said there’s been a 75 percent drop in the mortality rate among patients over the age of 70 since April due to new treatment options.

“That’s real progress, but we also have concerning trends as cases rise in a number of places, including here in Iowa,” Azar said. “We should all be taking steps to protect ourselves — to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe.”

More than 1400 new cases of Covid have been confirmed in Iowa through test results in the past day. At least one of five people tested in eight counties in the past two weeks have had the virus. In 10 other counties, between 15 and 20 percent of residents who were tested had Covid.

Azar also visited Ames this morning. He met with a man who’s participating in a clinical trial for antibody products that may help prevent or treat Covid-19. Azar said it’s the trial is for the same antibody cocktail President Trump took.

“We want to just express our deep, deep appreciation to any individual who enrolls in a clinical trial because this enables us to establish the data, the evidence, the science that allow us to bring forward the next generation of therapies that can save people,” Azar said.

Azar encouraged Iowans to donate blood as well, since most traditional blood drives have been suspended during the pandemic.

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