Virus Outbreak Hospitals Prepare

A nurse at a drive up coronavirus testing station set up by the University of Washington Medical Center holds a swab used to take a sample from the nose of a person in a car March 13 in Seattle.

OTTUMWA — Wapello County officials reported that another resident has died due to COVID-19.

An individual between the ages of 41-60 years old died, bringing the total number of Wapello County residents that have died in the pandemic to 33.

There were three new cases of the COVID-19 disease in Wapello County, while the state added 510 cases on Wednesday, according to state data.

Data from the Iowa Department of Public Health as of 10 a.m. Wednesday showed there were 46,492 total cases of the disease, an increase of 510 from 24 hours prior.

In that time, there were eight new deaths recorded, raising that total to 893 since the pandemic began in March.

In the last 24 hours statewide, there were 737 new recoveries reported and 6,116 new tests.

Wapello County saw its case total, as reported by the state, increase by three. Monroe and Van Buren each added two cases in the last 24 hours.

There are 65 active cases of the disease in Wapello County, 17 in Monroe County, 14 in Jefferson County, eight in Davis County, and four in Appanoose County.

Hospitalizations had been on the rise locally but dropped suddenly. In the last update from Wapello County officials on Tuesday, the number of those hospitalized in the county dropped from 10 to three.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports that, statewide, there were 248 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19. Gov. Kim Reynolds said this number currently counts both patients admitted for COVID-19 or admitted for another reason but that had tested positive for COVID-19. She says the state will begin to display data to reflect both scenarios.

The trend, however, for hospitalizations has been on the rise since the beginning of July. The current level for hospitalizations in the last 14 days is roughly two-thirds what it was during the previous peak in May.

Wapello County Supervisors discussed Tuesday potentially opening a brick-and-mortar site under the TestIowa program. The tent TestIowa site in Ottumwa closed in late June.

Testing dropped initially after the closure, but the average has remained consistent between June and July. According to testing numbers for Wapello County from the Iowa Department of Public Health, about 47 residents were tested on average per day in June. That number dropped to about 44 per day in July.

The testing data includes all tests reported by any medical provider and also includes data for residents who are tested outside the county.

Currently, the closest TestIowa site is the River Place Food Pantry in Des Moines, a 1 hour and 34 minute drive from Ottumwa.

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

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


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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