OTTUMWA — State figures showed Wapello County passing 400 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, though the 24-hour increase showed only nine new cases. More than 1,400 county residents have been tested.
Figures from local officials showed a larger increase of 15 cases, bringing the total to 388. But they also showed a major increase in those who have recovered from the virus. That tally jumped by 38 people, to a total of 119.
The Iowa Department of Public Health has changed to what Gov. Kim Reynolds touted as a rolling update on the website, which means the site will be updated as information comes in rather than having a single, daily update. The website indicated Wapello County had 405 cases as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.
As the number of people who recover from COVID-19 grows, the gap between the total number of cases and the active case load does as well. And the differences between state and local figures make a considerable difference.
The figures from local officials show 269 Wapello County residents are currently confirmed to have the virus, a figure that is lower than the previous day’s total. The state’s figures indicate 339 active cases in Wapello County.
But there was sobering news in the counts as well. Wapello County now has cases confirmed in three minors and seven people over age 81, according to local officials. Neither of those categories showed any cases in Wapello County a week ago.
Reynolds focused much of her press conference on Tuesday on the updates to the state’s coronavirus website.
“You can clearly see that the trend line for individual testing has risen dramatically over the last few weeks, reflecting our expanded testing capacities, capabilities across the state,” she said. “You’ll also see that the number of positive cases is trending down.”
The state data also now tracks serology testing, which checks blood samples for antibodies. That test can determine whether someone had COVID-19, regardless of whether they tested positive previously.
Dr. Caitlin Pedati, the state epidemiologist, said that test will help experts learn more about how the virus behaves and spreads.
“We don’t yet know how well these antibodies work, and we don’t know how long they last,” she said. “But it’s going to be really important for us to better understand the kind of immunity that people are developing.”