COVID-19

The coronavirus disease COVID-19 was first reported from Wuhan, China, on Dec. 31, 2019.

OTTUMWA — The state of Iowa reported nearly 1,300 new Iowans have tested positive for COVID-19, while another 64 have died from it.

Wapello County added 10 new cases of the coronavirus as of new data reported Tuesday. There were no deaths in the Courier’s coverage area.

There is a lag in the state’s death count that can delay reporting for days and weeks as officials confirm the cause of death. Of the 64 new deaths tallied between Monday and Tuesday, 18 of them occurred in November.

Jefferson County added another 14 cases, while there were eight new cases in Monroe, four in Appanoose, four in Van Buren and two in Davis.

Hospitalizations crept upward in the state, with 651 hospitalized with COVID-19 in Iowa, up 11 from Monday. There were 140 patients in an intensive care unit, and 71 new hospital admissions in the last 24 hours.

A long-term care facility outbreak at the Ridgewood Specialty Care in Wapello County was removed from the state dashboard, signaling an end to the outbreak there.

Active cases in Wapello County dipped below the 500 mark, down to 492 as of Tuesday morning according to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets. It is often mild and some individuals remain asymptomatic or have only cold or flu symptoms. But the disease can be more severe, require hospitalization and lead to death, particularly in older or immunocompromised people.

Experts, including those at the CDC, say wearing masks when in public, keeping at least 6 feet of distance between people when possible, and good hygiene can prevent the spread.

The Ottumwa Courier relies on data reported by the Iowa Department of Public Health, using its coronavirus data dashboard at coronavirus.iowa.gov. Data is checked each day at 10 a.m. and then compared to the data previously captured from the dashboard to produce stories.

The state has changed how it reported the data several times, and local officials often produce data based on different standards or in different timeframes. Therefore, the data will not always align with other sources.

Those wanting to be tested can visit testiowa.com to schedule a test at the Ottumwa Test Iowa Clinic.

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.

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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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