Virus Outbreak

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, pink, cultured in the lab.

OTTUMWA — Another Wapello County resident has died from the coronavirus, according to new data from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The death was added to the state’s coronavirus dashboard between Thursday and Friday, but death reports are often days and weeks behind while state officials work through the confirmation process.

State data indicates the death was a female over the age of 80 with pre-existing conditions. The Wapello County Public Health Department has not yet confirmed the death.

It is the 91st death of a Wapello County resident in the pandemic. It was one of seven deaths reported across the state Friday morning for the first time. They occurred as far back as Dec. 1.

Iowa added another 2,132 new cases between 10 a.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday, according to state data. Of those, 21 cases were in Monroe County and 21 were in Wapello County.

There were 14 new cases in Jefferson, five in Appanoose, two in Davis and two in Van Buren.

A new nursing home outbreak was reported at the Monroe Care Center in Albia, where there’s been 10 cases reported so far. The Parkview Care Center in Fairfield also had 10 new cases reported, according to state data.

Statewide hospitalizations were down to 575, and intensive care unit utilization was down to 117. There were 83 admissions in the last 24 hours.

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.

Those wanting to be tested can visit 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 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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