This 2020 electron microscope made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention image shows the spherical coronavirus particles from the first U.S. case of COVID-19.

CENTERVILLE — Cases reported at two long-term care facility outbreaks in Appanoose County increased Wednesday, a day after the county seat declared a public health emergency and a local hospital reached capacity.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported that 60 cases of COVID-19 are split between two nursing home outbreaks. The Golden Age Care Center in Centerville now has 34 cases of the coronavirus, according to state data, an increase of 22 from the prior day. The Centerville Speciality Care facility has 26 cases, a bump of 13 from the prior day.

State data indicated 14 new cases of the coronavirus in Appanoose County between 10 a.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. Wednesday (state data often adds cases of the virus to a county’s overall count first, before it adds them to a long-term facilities count).

Following the new case growth, active cases in the county rose to 278 — a 1,290% increase in active case load since Oct. 1, according to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health that was analyzed by the Ottumwa Courier.

MercyOne Centerville Medical Center reported near-capacity numbers and levels of critical COVID-19 patients not yet seen. The announcement prompted Centerville Mayor Mike O’Connor to declare a public health emergency that carried the “strong encouragement” for the public to wear masks. The city says a mask mandate could be implemented in Centerville if cases continue to grow.

In part, the newly signed proclamation reads, ”In order to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the City, I strongly recommend that all persons in the City of Centerville wear a face covering such as a cloth mask, surgical mask or similar covering that covers their nose and mouth when in a public place.”

Two days ago, there were eight hospitalizations reported in Appanoose County, according to the latest available state data.

Hospitalizations are surging around the state, hitting a record 1,190 in Iowa on Wednesday. A record 210 were in an intensive care unit and a record 230 were admitted in the last 24 hours.

The state reported a record 4,764 cases in the latest 24-hour period, ending at 10 a.m. Wednesday. There were 26 new deaths reported, 9,899 new individuals tested and 1,297 recoveries reported.

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.


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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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