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 — An elementary student and a middle school student have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 disease, according to numbers from the Ottumwa School District on Wednesday.

The latest update Wednesday, posted on the district’s website, showed a student of Liberty Elementary School tested positive, as did a student at Evans Middle School.

The number of students quarantined bumped upward slightly, with 51 students exposed district-wide. There are 12 students under quarantine at Liberty, 12 at Evans, and 10 at Ottumwa Middle School. All of the district’s buildings, except for James Elementary School, have at least one student under quarantine presently.

To date, four students have teted positive for the COVID-19 disease. There have been seven staff members test positive, though no new results were posted Wednesday. Currently, three staff members are under quarantine.

There were 775 new cases of the COVID-19 disease in Iowa, state data reported on Wednesday morning.

There was one new death in the state, 748 new recoveries and 5,733 new individuals tested.

In Wapello County, there were four new cases of the disease added to the state’s data between 10 a.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. Wednesday. There were 26 new individuals tested in the county, according to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, the state reported that in Wapello County in the last 14 days that 8.9% of coronavirus tests have returned a positive result.

Jefferson County added four new cases, as well, while the rest of the Courier coverage area remained idle on Wednesday.

The top-five counties around the state in terms of case growth were Polk (106), Woodbury (51), Scott (44), Dubuque (39), and Linn (36).

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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