Virus Outbreak College Testing

James Robson, a biomedical engineering graduate student, holds a swab and specimen vial in the new COVID-19, on-campus testing lab, Thursday, July 23, 2020, at Boston University in Boston.

OTTUMWA — Iowa reported four new deaths and 803 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, according to new state data.

There were 15 new cases reported in Wapello County, six in Appanoose, four in Jefferson, three in Monroe, two in Van Buren and one in Davis. None of the new deaths were reported in the Courier’s coverage area.

Some data analysis by major news organizations and COVID-19 data trackers say the state is testing at or near the lowest levels in the United States.

The Washington Post reported that in the last week, Iowa ranked 50th in tests per 100,000 people. The state has tested at a rate lower than Guam and the Virgin Islands, according to its analysis.

Open source data from The COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic, which provides data for Johns Hopkins University, also shows the state ranking near the bottom for testing.

Over the last week, Iowa has tested an average of 3,681 Iowans per day.

Less than 100 new individuals have been tested in the last week in Appanoose and Monroe, and less than 50 have been tested in Davis and Van Buren. State data reports that there have been 370 tests in Wapello County.

Hospitalizations were back above the 400 mark on Tuesday, with 415 hospitalized due to COVID-19 and 78 in an intensive care unit.

A new long-term care outbreak was reported at Oakwood Specialty Care in Monroe County, where there have been three confirmed cases. The other outbreak in the county at the Monroe Care Center has seen just one new case in the last two weeks.

The outbreak at Parkview Care Center in Jefferson County was removed from the state’s database, signaling its end.

To date, there have been 32,564 Iowans who have received both required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. There have been 126 Wapello County residents who have received both rounds.

Another 130,132 Iowans have began their vaccination process by receiving the first of two shots.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 3.3 million Americans have received both doses of a vaccine and about 19.2 million have received the first shot.

More vaccine news is imminent, the Associated Press reported. Results of a single-dose candidate from Johnson & Johnson are expected to be released soon.

The drug maker Merck reported Monday that it was shifting to studying treatment of the virus, ending development of two potential vaccine after poor results in early-stage studies.

Kyle Ocker is the group 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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