OTTUMWA — State figures showed 19 newly-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wapello County on Sunday.

The update came one day after the first word of an outbreak at an Ottumwa care center broke. It’s the first time the virus has been found in such a facility locally, and the second in the area, after an outbreak in Albia.

Officials pay close attention to long-term care centers because the virus spreads rapidly and has been more dangerous to the elderly. The Ottumwa outbreak at Vista Woods is small for now, with two confirmed cases.

The outbreak at Oakwood Specialty Care in Albia is now at 15 people.

Wapello County’s tests continued to return positive results at a much higher rate than the state’s average. The most recent test batch had returned 27 percent positive, a slight rise over the previous day. It’s a whopping 20 percentage points higher than the state’s figure for the date, but well off the high of 53 percent found on May 9.

The state’s data lists 12 Wapello County residents who have recovered, though that figure appears to be four days old. County officials say 48 people have recovered. There’s also a difference in total cases, with the county listing 348 confirmed positives and the state saying 349.

Only two Iowa counties, Ringgold and Decatur, have yet to return positive tests. But the state’s website for the information shows “no data” for each county, making it impossible to say how much testing has been done in either county.

A total of 351 Iowans have died from the virus.

— Matt Milner can be reached at and followed on Twitter @mwmilner


Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

Recommended for you