Virus Outbreak

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, pink, cultured in the lab.

CENTERVILLE — After positive tests had become sporadic in the Courier’s coverage area, officials in Appanoose County announced five new cases of the COVID-19 disease on Tuesday.

The Appanoose County Public Health Department reports two of the new cases are males under the age of 18. The other cases are a female between 18-40, a female between 61-80 and a male between 61-80.

Local officials say there have been 27 positive cases of COVID-19 to date, while the state’s website lists 29 in Appanoose County.

Generally, less than 20 people are tested per day in Appanoose County during the month of June, according to state data. The county’s positive rate leaped above 20% with Tuesday’s announcement.

According to state data, there were two new cases on Tuesday in Monroe County, pushing that county’s total to 54.

Wapello County’s numbers haven’t increased by two on Sunday, for a total of 715 cases of the disease.

There have been no new cases in Van Buren County since July 6 and none in Jefferson County since July 5.

Statewide, cases have been following an upward trend in the month of July. There have been 35,831 patients test positive since the start of the pandemic as of Noon Tuesday, a 24-hour increase of 329. About 8,159 cases are active according to state data.

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the new coronavirus. It has claimed 757 lives in Iowa to date but is mild in most cases. The state reports about 75% of those who have had the disease to date are recovered, which includes individuals who have had little or no symptoms.

The disease is highly contagious, however. Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday posted a social media video asking Iowans to continue to be vigilant.

“I don’t want to reverse the progress we’ve made since the pandemic began,” she said. “And that’s why I’m asking for your help.”

She says Iowans should wear masks, social distance and practice good hygiene.

Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand on Tuesday criticized Test Iowa’s reporting of results, and reported his findings to law enforcement agencies.

Sand said that test results from Test Iowa weren’t being reported to the Iowa Department of Public Health in a timely manner, instead going through up to three intermediaries.

This causes, he said, chances for errors and delays in getting positive test results to state and local officials.

“Each link in the chain is an area where the integrity, reliability, and timely transmission of information is put at unnecessary risk of error, equipment failure, maladministration, outright falsification or any other cause,” a press release from his office read.

He said the chain breaks the law, and he has sent his report to the sheriff’s offices and attorney’s offices in Polk and Johnson County, as well as the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and Iowa Attorney General’s Office.

Kyle Ocker is the group editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the first vice president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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