OTTUMWA — Iowa officials announced Wapello County’s 27th death from the COVID-19 virus on Friday.

With 681 positive tests, Wapello County has far more confirmed cases than the rest of southeast Iowa. The rate of growth has slowed significantly over the past several weeks. Only one new case was reported by Friday afternoon. The last time the county saw more than two cases announced in a single day was a week ago.

The slowing pace has allowed the county’s recovery rate to rise significantly. The Iowa Department of Public Health said 555 Wapello County residents have recovered from the virus, more than 80 percent of those known to have been infected.

Friday’s new case in Wapello County was one of two reported in the area. The other was in Mahaska County, bringing its total to 109 confirmed cases.

The outbreaks in Wapello and Mahaska counties are sharply different, though. Wapello County saw broad spreading of the virus through the community. A majority of the cases in Mahaska County are linked to an outbreak at Crystal Heights Care Center. That outbreak saw 79 people connected to the center diagnosed with the virus, 62 of whom have recovered.

State officials listed eight hospitalized patients in Wapello County. That’s different from county officials’ total of 11.

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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