Virus Outbreak Pennsylvania

Registered nurse Tria Jones opens a swab during testing for COVID-19 organized by Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers at Mifflin Square Park, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020, in south Philadelphia.

OTTUMWA — There have been 3,739 Iowans die of complications caused by the coronavirus, an increase of 71 from the previous day.

The deaths were added to Iowa’s coronavirus data dashboard between Wednesday and Thursday, but included deaths as far back as October. Before deaths are added to the state’s data, they are verified, a process that can delay reporting by days, weeks and, as is the case Thursday, months.

Another 1,425 Iowans tested positive for COVID-19, with 11 of those in Monroe and 11 in Wapello. Jefferson County added nine while Appanoose added 5, Van Buren added two and Davis added one.

Monroe County now boasts the state’s highest rate of positive tests. The two-week average climbed to 27.4%, signaling significant virus spread in the community of less than 7,800. It’s the highest rate of positivity the county has seen since the state began publishing the data in August.

In Iowa, hospitalizations declined to 625 and intensive care unit usage fell to 127.

In local nursing homes, Parkview Care Center in Fairfield had one new case added to its tally. The rest of the ongoing nursing home outbreaks — Centerville Specialty Care, Bloomfield Care Center and Sunny Brook Living Care Center in Fairfield — have not had a case reported in the last 14 days.

There were another 4,598 individuals tested between Wednesday and Thursday, roughly half the recent daily average. That said, Monday the state sat a new single day record for testing, with 25,737 seeking a test in Iowa.

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.

Editor's Note: This edition of the Ottumwa Courier was produced Thursday evening. For the latest COVID-19 information, see our website at www.ottumwacourier.com/news/coronavirus.

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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