Coronavirus 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, blue/pink, cultured in the lab.

OTTUMWA — Among the 64 new coronavirus-related deaths announced on Saturday were residents of Wapello and Jefferson counties, new state data showed.

New data from the Iowa Department of Public Health shows a Wapello County female between 30-39-years-old died from the virus, as did a Jefferson County female over the age of 80. Both had pre-existing conditions.

The state commonly takes several days if not several weeks to report deaths. State officials investigate to confirm cause of death before reporting them publicly. They then backdate deaths to the date they occurred.

The 64 deaths reported Saturday occurred as far back as July 16, according to state data. Fifty-five of them occurred in December.

Iowa added another 1,333 cases of the virus on Saturday, with 21 of those in Wapello County. There were eight new cases in Jefferson, six in Monroe, two in Appanoose, two in Davis and two in Van Buren.

After trending downward for six days, the 14-day positivity rate average in Iowa was up slightly Saturday to 13.3%. Experts from the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control consider a rate of less than 5% safe.

Monroe County continues to lead the state in the average, though it’s declined in recent days, from the county’s all-time high of 36.7% on Jan. 12 down to 28.7% as of Saturday morning. The county of 7,700 has 232 active cases as of Saturday, according to state data. So far, more than 10% of the county’s population has tested positive with the virus.

There are 505 hospitalized around the state, down from the prior day and the lowest level of hospital use since early October. There were 91 in an intensive care unit, the same as Friday.

As of the latest available data from the state Thursday afternoon, Appanoose County had the most hospitalized with five. There were four hospitalized from Wapello, four from Jefferson, two from Van Buren and one from Davis.

Data from the CDC as of Friday morning reports there have been 12.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine distributed so far, with 1.6 million people receiving both of the required shots to be immunized from the coronavirus.

In Iowa, there have been 108,056 receive the first dose of the vaccine, and 10,742 have received both doses.

Kyle Ocker is the group editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@ottumwacourier.com. 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 president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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