OTTUMWA — In the last week, cases of the coronavirus have continued to grow across Iowa and the area.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified all Courier-area counties as having substantial or high transmission rates of the virus, meaning they recommend all — even vaccinated people — wear masks indoors when away from their home.

New data Wednesday from the Iowa Department of Public Health said another 24 positive tests were reported in the last week for Wapello County.

After spending much of June with a flat trend at relatively low transmission numbers, Iowa’s chart for new COVID-19 positives has begun an aggressive climb upward. As of Wednesday, seven-day case trends were nearly seven times what they were a month ago.

Of Wapello’s 24 new cases in the last week, 15 were reported between Aug. 1-3, according to the state’s data.

There were 22 new cases reported in the last week in Jefferson, 12 in Appanoose, 10 in Davis, six in Monroe and six in Van Buren.

According to the CDC’s map, Van Buren’s transmission rate was at a substantial level, while all other Courier-area counties were at high rates of transmission.

About 39.4% of the Wapello County population is fully vaccinated, according to CDC data as of Tuesday. Davis County remains the worst county in terms of vaccinated population at 29.7%. For other counties, Jefferson has vaccinated 39.7%, Monroe County 38.3%, Appanoose 37.9%, and Van Buren 33.7%.

The CDC has said vaccinated people are able to contract the newest Delta strain, though their infections are less severe and rarely result in hospitalization or death. These so-called breakthrough cases were long expected, and experts say the major benefit of vaccinations are avoiding death and severe illness from the coronavirus.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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Kyle Ocker is a Centerville native and award-winning multimedia journalist. Kyle is currently the president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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