State public health data indicates Iowa is beginning the new year with a large surge in coronavirus cases. The state Department of Public Health on Monday (1/3) posted 17,773 confirmed positive tests in the past seven days. That rate of about 2,500 cases a day is a significant jump from the 1,300 to 1,400 daily average during December. The surge pushed Iowa’s 14-day positivity rate to 13.5%, a rate that signifies a high rate of spread. Hospitalizations fell slightly to 768 from 773 reported on Friday (12/31). The state reported 163 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, a slight drop from 170 reported Friday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 59% of Iowa’s population is fully vaccinated.