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. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S.

OTTUMWA — It’s been six months and two days since Iowa had less than 250 people hospitalized with the coronavirus.

On Friday, there were 249 patients hospitalized in Iowa with COVID-19, with 59 in an intensive care unit. While hospitalizations hit a six-month low, Iowans are still dying from COVID-19.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported another 22 dead from the coronavirus on Friday, pushing the state’s total in the pandemic to 5,196. Of those, 563 have come since January, according to state data.

Deaths are reported by the state on a delay of days and weeks due to the confirmation process. As of Friday, 1,212 Iowans died in December alone, so far the deadliest month in the pandemic. There are likely deaths not yet published, as the deaths reported Friday included some as far back as November.

Two of the deaths came from Wapello County, both with pre-existing conditions. One was between the ages of 70-79 and the other over the age of 80, according to state data. The deaths raise the county’s death toll to 105 since the pandemic began.

Iowa added another 841 cases of the coronavirus between 10 a.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday, including 13 in Wapello County. There were four in Jefferson, two in Appanoose, two in Davis, two in Monroe and one in Van Buren.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported another 3,725 individuals were tested in the 24-hour period.

Wapello County ranks 39th in Iowa for completed vaccine regimes. As of Friday, 984 (or 2.8% of residents) have received both shots of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Both vaccines that are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration require two doses to be most effective. About 4.66%, or 1,628, have received their first dose.

Statewide, about 3.3% of residents are fully vaccinated while 6.2% have received their first shot.

Kyle Ocker is the 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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