Coronavirus 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, blue/pink, cultured in the lab.

OTTUMWA — Another Appanoose County resident has died due to COVID-19, while Wapello County added 18 cases on Tuesday.

Data from the Iowa Department of Public Health indicates the coronavirus was the cause of death for an Appanoose County male between the ages of 70- and 79 years old with a pre-existing condition. It is the county’s 35th death in the pandemic, according to state data.

The death was included in the 67 new deaths reported in Iowa caused by the coronavirus. Death reports are delayed by days and sometimes weeks as state officials confirm them before they appear in state data. To date, there have been 3,812 Iowans die because of the coronavirus.

The deaths added to the state’s coronavirus dashboard on Tuesday go as far back as Nov. 13 and as recent as Dec. 22.

Iowa added 1,475 new cases of the coronavirus, with 18 in Wapello, eight in Appanoose, five in Jefferson, three in Davis, three in Monroe and two in Van Buren. Statewide, there were another 3,901 individuals tested for the virus.

Statewide, hospitalizations were back above 600 after spending three days below that number. As of Tuesday morning, the state reported 620 were hospitalized, an increase of 34 from the prior day. There were 117 in an intensive care unit, up from 111 the prior day. In the last 24 hours, there were 24 new hospital admissions.

There were two new cases reported at the Parkview Care Center in Fairfield, a long-term care facility that has seen four COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks.

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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