Virus Outbreak Washington

A worker wearing gloves and other PPE holds a nasal swab, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, at a King County COVID-19 testing site in Auburn, Wash., south of Seattle.

OTTUMWA — In a 24-hour period, the state added 1,200 new cases of the virus and 28 new deaths in data reported Monday.

There were seven new cases in Appanoose, six in Wapello, three in Jefferson and three in Van Buren.

State reporting on COVID-19 deaths continued to lag what is being reported by local officials on the ground in significant numbers.

Data added between Sunday and Monday from the Iowa Department of Public Health showed two more deaths reported in Appanoose and one in Wapello. However, it’s not clear whether those are new deaths, or previously announced deaths that are just not showing up in the state’s data.

For the last several weeks, the state’s coronavirus dashboard has offered death tolls that trail what local public health officials track.

In Appanoose County, local officials said last week that 27 residents of the county have died due to COVID-19. The state’s data reports that only 12 have died.

In Wapello County, there have been 83 deaths according to local officials last week. The state reports 72 deaths.

Cedar Rapids television station KCRG reported last week that Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office said it will investigate the state’s COVID-19 death reporting procedure.

Monday brought another expected downturn of cases, as testing has diminished in the state due to the Thanksgiving holiday and then the weekend. Just 3,031 more Iowans were tested between Sunday and Monday, according to state data. That’s less than half the recent average of more than 8,000.

There were 1,162 hospitalized around the state, with 224 in an intensive care unit. In the last 24 hours there were 138 admissions into a hospital.

The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets. It is often mild and some individuals remain asymptomatic or have only cold or flu symptoms. But the disease can be more severe, require hospitalization and lead to death, particularly in older or immunocompromised people.

Experts, including those at the CDC, say wearing masks when in public, keeping at least 6 feet of distance between people when possible, and good hygiene can prevent the spread.

The Ottumwa Courier relies on data reported by the Iowa Department of Public Health, using its coronavirus data dashboard at coronavirus.iowa.gov. Data is checked each day at 10 a.m. and then compared to the data previously captured from the dashboard to produce stories.

The state has changed how it reported the data several times, and local officials often produce data based on different standards or in different timeframes. Therefore, the data will not always align with other sources.

Those wanting to be tested can visit testiowa.com to schedule a test at the Ottumwa Test Iowa Clinic.

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 first vice president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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