OTTUMWA — COVID numbers continue to trickle upward in the area, with a third newly-discovered case added late Wednesday.

The rate of growth is nothing like what Wapello County saw in May, and even June’s lower increases have slowed over the past week. But the increases are a reminder that the pandemic is not over.

Wapello County’s three cases accounted for a little less than half the area total. Mahaska County saw two new cases, while Van Buren and Monroe counties saw one each. Mahaska County recorded an additional new case on Thursday, as did Jefferson County.

The slowed rate of expansion in the confirmed COVID-19 cases for southeast Iowa is in contrast to both state and national trends. Several states have seen their numbers increase rapidly over the past couple weeks. Iowa has seen an increase, but not on the same scale as what Texas, Arizona and Florida are currently facing.

The slowdown has allowed local patient recoveries to cut deeply into the case load. Both state and local officials say the number of active cases in Wapello County is well below 100, though they disagree on the precise figure.

Hospitalizations, a crucial measure of the outbreak, are low for the area right now. Fewer than 10 Wapello County residents are hospitalized for treatment, down from more than 20 at the peak.

About 140 patients are receiving hospital treatment statewide. Forty-two are in intensive care.

Officials have cautioned that the progress in southeast Iowa is not irreversible, and continue to urge area residents to take precautions. That includes washing your hands with soap and water, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you are sick. Experts also recommend wearing a mask when in public.

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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