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An Indian health worker takes a nasal swab sample of a student to test for coronavirus after classes started at a college in Jhargaon village, outskirts of Gauhati, India, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020.

ALBIA — One of the state’s smallest counties now boasts the fifth-highest rate for positive cases in the last two weeks, according to state data.

Data from the Iowa Department of Public Health showed that between 10 a.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Thursday, there were 10 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Monroe County.

Monroe County has added 51 new cases in the last week, according to state data.

The 14-day positivity rate, as reported by the state Thursday morning, was up to 20.8%. That's beyond the threshold set by Gov. Kim Reynolds for schools to switch to all virtual learning. There's no requirement to do so, however.

Albia Schools on Tuesday began a hybrid learning plan for grades 7-12. Hybrid learning plans split students into two groups, cutting daily attendance in half while still offering in-person instruction twice per week for each student.

Students in grades pre-K through sixth grade in Albia continue to learn in-person.

Monroe was the highest county for growth in the Courier’s coverage area Thursday. With more than four times the population of Monroe County, Wapello County added nine cases of the coronavirus on Thursday.

Davis County saw an increase of five cases, while three were added in Appanoose County and two in Jefferson County.

Iowa reported 1,410 new cases of the coronavirus and 13 new deaths. There were 1,065 new recoveries reported and 6,879 new individuals tested.

The top five counties for case growth were Polk (136), Scott (91), Woodbury (89), Dubuque (68) and Linn (63).

Between Wednesday and Thursday, the state eclipsed the 1,500 deaths threshold. As of 10 a.m. Thursday, there have been 1,505 Iowans die with COVID-19.

There have been 103,222 Iowans test positive for the coronavirus since March and 80,114 are reported to have recovered.

Hospitalizations hit a new record in the state Thursday, with 482 hospitalized with the coronavirus. There are 107 patients in an intensive care unit, and there were 66 new patients admitted in the last 24 hours.

The state reports out of about 2,700 beds available across the state that 34.6% are available.

The increase in hospitalizations has not yet been present locally, with Wapello County Public Health reporting Wednesday just two hospitalizations.

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 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.

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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