The deaths of two more Buchanan County residents have been linked to COVID-19, according to the weekly coronavirus update released Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The county’s death toll since the beginning of the pandemic last year is now 41.

Iowa now has 7,354 COVID-19-related deaths, an increase of 86 over last week’s report.

Buchanan County has the fewest fatalities among adjacent counties, however. Linn is now at 424, followed by Black Hawk (374), Bremer (72), Benton (59)Clayton (59), Delaware (54) and Fayette (53).

Buchanan County — at 49.9% of residents 12 years of age and older being fully vaccinated — has the second lowest vaccination rate among its adjacent counties. Linn County is at 60.8%, followed by Black Hawk (55.2%), Bremer (55.3%), Benton (53.3%), Fayette (50.9%), Delaware (50%), and Clayton (45%).

The state rate is 56.4%.

Last week, Buchanan County Health Center announced that it was joining other area medical providers in requiring all eligible employees who do not meet medical or religious exemption requirements to be fully vaccinated. Their deadline to have the first dose is by Dec. 5 and the second is by Jan. 4.

In the seven days ending Tuesday, Buchanan County has had 63 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. The trend continues to lean toward younger people getting infected. Residents between the ages of 30 and 59 made up 54% of the new cases. The age group of 30-39 accounted for 21% followed by 19% in 40-49, 14% in 50-59

Those 29 years of age and younger made up 32% of the new cases (16% in both 0-17 and 18-29).

The 70-79 group had 8% and 60-69 had 6%.

The update showed no new cases in the 80-plus age group.