OTTUMWA — Wapello County passed 680 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus on Thursday, continuing what has been a slow rise in the numbers this month.

June has generally seen steady growth in confirmed cases, though earlier this week both the state and local authorities did go more than 24 hours between announcing positive tests. Wapello County has yet to see double-digit growth on any day this month. Nine new cases on June 1 was the single-day high.

Slow growth also describes the area around Wapello County. Jefferson County has three new cases since June 12. Mahaska County has reported only one new case in the past week, as has Appanoose County. Keokuk and Monroe counties only have two new cases each in that time. Van Buren County’s last confirmed case was June 10.

More than 530 people have recovered in Wapello County, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. State data suggests the number of active cases in Wapello County has likely fallen below 200.

There are questions, though, about the numbers offered by Wapello County. The number of total cases claimed by the county is lower than the number of people county officials say have either recovered from the virus or died as a result of the illness. The fact you cannot both recover and have died shows an error somewhere in the county’s data.

The Courier has asked officials for clarification of the discrepancy.

Area outbreaks at long-term care facilities have also eased. Both Mahaska and Monroe counties saw major outbreaks at facilities in Oskaloosa and Albia. Of the 79 people who tested positive at Crystal Heights Care Center in Oskaloosa, 62 have recovered. Oakwood Specialty Care in Albia saw 44 positive tests. The state says 36 have recovered.

Numbers from the lone Wapello County facility listed by the state with an outbreak have not changed significantly in several days. The IDPH lists 34 positive tests linked to Vista Woods Care Center and seven recoveries.

Both state and local health officials continue to warn that the pandemic is not over and that people need to take steps to protect themselves. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home if you are sick. Officials also recommend wearing a face mask in public to reduce the likelihood of spreading the virus.

Matt Milner can be reached at mmilner@ottumwacourier.com and followed on Twitter @mwmilner

Matt Milner can be reached at mmilner@ottumwacourier.com and followed on Twitter @mwmilner

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Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

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