OTTUMWA — Wapello County approached 400 confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday, five days after hitting the 300-case mark.
The county’s caseload is still increasing, but at a slightly slower rate than it had been. It took just three days for the county to go from 200 to 300 cases. And the most recent batch of tests saw 20 percent come back positive, the lowest figure since late April.
State figures showed 396 cases of COVID-19 in Wapello County.
The gap between state and local numbers has fluctuated in recent days. Monday’s update to Wapello County data showed 373 cases. But the county shows 81 people, about one in five Wapello County patients, have recovered.
The figures from Sunday and Monday offered the first concrete suggestions that the TestIowa site in Ottumwa may be making a difference. The increases in the number of people tested who are from Wapello County increased by 88 and 81, respectively. Neither is a record, but it is the highest two-day total so far and the first time more than 80 people from Wapello County have been tested in consecutive days.
Wapello County Emergency Management Director Tim Richmond said in a statement that, as of 3:30 p.m. Monday, the TestIowa site had tested 425 people since opening. When the site began testing last week, officials said it had a target of 320 tests per day.
Those referred for testing from testiowa.com will need the QR code or 16-digit code generated by the referral in order to be tested. Those can be printed off or displayed on a smartphone.
Statewide, the Iowa Department of Public Health reports 14,955 people have tested positive for COVID-19. Monday’s update said that was an increase of 304. Four more Iowans died, bringing the state’s total to 355.
Gov. Kim Reynolds said Monday that more than 100,000 Iowans have been tested for COVID-19, a figure she said is without duplicate tests. She said the number of days it takes the state’s total to double, an important metric for tracking expansion of the pandemic “is now at 21 days.”
She said the state’s website to track the virus, coronavirus.iowa.gov, will change to de-emphasize daily updates, which Reynolds called “obsolete.”
“The biggest change you’ll notice is the case counts will now be updated in real time throughout the day, so that you’ll be able to see the numbers coming in,” Reynolds said. “Previously we scheduled updates to happen at a specific time each day.”
The updated website will also include information on serology tests, which can detect antibodies in people who never tested positive for the virus.