Virus Outbreak US Surge

In this Oct. 23, 2020, file photo, University of Washington research coordinator Rhoshni Prabhu holds up a swab after testing a passenger at a free COVID testing site in Seattle.

OTTUMWA — A resident of Wapello County and a resident of Van Buren have died from the coronavirus, according to state data on Monday.

The Iowa Department of Public Health between Sunday and Monday added the deaths of 46 Iowans to its coronavirus data dashboard. Those included one death in Wapello County and one death in Van Buren County.

Deaths reported by the state are often delayed by days and weeks as officials confirm cause of death before adding them to the data set. The deaths reported Monday were from between Nov. 24 and Dec. 16.

An analysis of state data shows the resident of Wapello County was a female above the age of 80 with pre-existing conditions. The Van Buren County resident that died was a male between the ages of 60-69 with pre-existing conditions.

The pandemic has been blamed for 93 deaths in Wapello County and 12 in Van Buren County, according to state data.

The state reports 3,946 COVID-19 deaths to date, and more than 90% of those who have died had a pre-existing condition. These comorbidities can include a variety of things, including common diseases and ailments like high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

Iowa reported another 601 new cases of the coronavirus between Sunday and Monday. There were 1,369 new individuals tested in that time frame.

Nine of the new cases were in Monroe County, state data showed. There were seven new cases in Appanoose and five in Wapello. There was no change in cases for Davis, Jefferson and Van Buren counties Monday.

There were 571 hospitalized with COVID-19 in Iowa, with 117 in an intensive care unit. Both numbers are down slightly from Sunday.

On Saturday, state data indicated Wapello County’s 92nd death was a male over the age of 80 with pre-existing conditions.

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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