OTTUMWA — The TestIowa site in Ottumwa is closing. County officials said operations at Evans Middle School will end at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Richmond and Mayor Tom Lazio had previously expressed hopes the center would stay open beyond June 24. Richmond said local doctor’s offices and clinics liked having the site in Ottumwa because it helped take pressure off of them.

The Ottumwa site opened May 13 as a drive-through testing center at The Beach. At the time, the online screening required to create appointments was restrictive, and there were numerous complaints about people being turned away.

The state loosened restrictions over the course of the next several weeks, eventually saying anyone who went to testiowa.com and completed the screening would be given an appointment. The Ottumwa operation moved to the parking lot at Evans Middle School at the beginning of June.

Closure of the site does not mean testing will be unavailable in Wapello County. Tests can still be arranged with local health care providers.

State officials recorded no new COVID-19 cases in Wapello County on Monday, the second time in the past week that has happened.

But there’s a catch. Testing in Wapello County had dipped significantly. The lack of new cases was from a batch of only 23 tests.

Only three of 100 new tests came back positive from any of the surrounding counties on Monday. Two were in Van Buren County, where a total of 14 cases have been found. The remaining positive test was in Jefferson County, which counts 49 cases in all.

Two more positive tests were confirmed as of 11 a.m. Tuesday. One was in Keokuk County, while the other was in Mahaska County.

There was good news as state tallies suggested outbreaks of the virus at long-term care facilities in Mahaska and Monroe counties have largely run their course. About 81 percent of patients connected to those facilities are listed as recovered. The state does not break down deaths by facility, but the number of deaths in those counties is close to the number of outstanding cases in each facility.

State officials announced one additional death in Wapello County, bringing the total to 28. The victim was between the ages of 71-80, according to county officials.

More than 80 percent of patients in Wapello County, which has by far the highest total number of cases in the area, have recovered. State figures show about 100 active cases in the county.

County officials show far fewer active cases, but their figures continue to raise questions. The county’s Monday update showed 675 total cases, and it said 640 have recovered. That’s a difference of 35 cases, but the county listed 44 active cases.

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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