COVID-19 illustration

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.

OTTUMWA — New cases of the coronavirus in Iowa are leveling off but remain high, according to new data Tuesday.

Another 954 cases of the virus were confirmed in Iowa residents, according to numbers from the Iowa Department of Public Health between Monday and Tuesday.

According to a New York Times analysis, case growth has fallen significantly from the November spikes but have begun to level off at a level that is still higher than was seen in the summer and fall months.

Wapello County added another 10 cases of the virus, with six more cases in Jefferson, three in Appanoose, two in Van Buren, one in Davis and one in Monroe.

The state reported eight more deaths, for a total of 4,332 Iowans that have died since the pandemic began in March. None of the new deaths were in the Courier’s coverage area, and none occurred in the last 24 hours.

Deaths are backdated to the date on the death certification, and state officials only publish them once they’ve confirmed information about the death. Of the deaths reported Tuesday for the first time, they were dated back to Dec. 29 and as recent as Jan. 14.

Active cases across the region continued a slow decline, with Wapello reporting the highest number at 404. Statewide, there are 33,019 cases still considered active, according to state data.

The state’s 14-day positivity rate dropped again to 12%, still more than double the rate considered safe by experts at the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control. It’s the lowest the rate has been, however, since Dec. 29.

Monroe County’s rate over the last two weeks has dropped by more than a dozen points in the last week, now to 23.6% as of Tuesday morning. The county has the second-highest rate in the state, behind Ringgold County.

All 99 of Iowa’s counties are above the 5% threshold set by the CDC and WHO. All but 18 counties are under the 15% threshold set by Gov. Kim Reynolds for when schools can begin requesting waivers for all-virtual instruction.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported that there have been 134,919 doses administered to Iowa residents thus far. There have been 12,604 who have received both shots required in order for either of the currently approved COVID-19 vaccines to be effective. There have been 117,406 receive their first dose of the regime.

There have been 28 Wapello County residents that have received both shots of the vaccine, meaning about 0.1% of the population over the age of 16 have been fully vaccinated. (Both of the COVID-19 vaccines are only approved for those above 16 years old, currently.)

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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