COVID-19 illustration

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

OTTUMWA — Quarantines, even with relaxed guidance, have risen significantly in the Ottumwa Community School District.

The district reported Thursday it now has 257 students in quarantine due to an exposure to the coronavirus. There were two new students who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last day, according to district data.

So far this school year, 45 students have tested positive for the virus — 20 of them at Ottumwa High School.

There are 14 staff members in quarantine at the school. Another staff member tested positive today, raising the district's total number in the school year to 51.

Iowa is undergoing "exponential and unyielding" growth of the coronavirus, according to a new report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Southeast Iowa is no exception.

In Wapello County, there were 26 more cases of COVID-19 reported between 10 a.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Thursday. Another 25 were added in Jefferson, 19 in Appanoose, 14 in Davis, eight in Monroe and eight in Van Buren.

Local hospitalizations continued a rise: 16 were hospitalized in Appanoose, and another 16 hospitalized in Jefferson, as of the state’s latest data available from Tuesday. In Wapello County, the number of COVID-19 patients was up to 12. There were five hospitalized in Davis, five in Monroe and four in Van Buren.

Active cases rose across the board, as well. There’s now 684 active cases in Wapello County, according to state data Thursday morning. There were 434 active in Appanoose, 333 in Jefferson, 218 in Davis, 141 in Van Buren and 140 in Monroe.

The Golden Age Care Center outbreak in Appanoose County added 13 new cases of COVID-19, upping the facility’s total since their outbreak began. It’s not immediately clear how many deaths in Appanoose County are from the two nursing home outbreaks at the Golden Age and Centerville Specialty Care, because the state does not report those numbers publicly.

State numbers showed another 4,195 COVID-19 cases across Iowa, and another 38 deaths.

Appanoose County Public Health officials said Thursday that two more had died due to the coronavirus in the county, upping their pandemic total to 23. All but three of those deaths have occurred in November.

Statewide hospitalizations were shy of record numbers for the first time in 12 days. The state reported 1,516 were hospitalized in Iowa, with 286 in an intensive care unit.

There were 10,426 Iowans tested for the first time and 1,490 Iowans reported to have recovered.

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


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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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