COVID-19 illustration

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.

OTTUMWA — Another two Appanoose County residents have died due to complications from the coronavirus, according to state data Friday.

Between Thursday and Friday morning, the state added 81 new deaths, with 3,197 Iowans now dead from COVID-19.

Some of the deaths may have been from earlier in the pandemic, as the state has changed its methodology for reporting deaths to include those with positive antigen tests or a clinical diagnosis of COVID-19. Previously, only people who died and had a positive PCR test were counted.

The two new deaths reported in Appanoose County push the county’s total to 33 since the pandemic began. There was another death reported in Wapello, for a total of 87, and another in Jefferson, for a total of 12.

The state added another 2,042 cases of COVID-19, with23 in Wapello, 11 in Jefferson, eight in Davis, eight in Monroe, seven in Appanoose and seven in Van Buren.

There were 833 hospitalizations in Iowa, with 175 patients in an intensive care unit and 128 admitted in the last 24 hours.

Three staff members at Evans Middle School tested positive for the coronavirus, in the Ottumwa Community School District's latest COVID-19 update. Thre are 156 students district-wide in quarantine. Evans has the highest number, at 42. There are 32 in quarantine at Ottumwa High School.

This school year, there have been 68 staff members and 66 students test positive in the district.

Cardinal reported its highest percentage of high schoolers absent this school year on Friday: 9.8%. Student absences include any sickness, not just COVID-19. Quarantined students and those opting for virtual instruction are not included. Cardinal has 29 students in quarantine as of Friday, but no positive cases. There are between 1 and 5 positive staff members, and six under quarantine.

As of Thursday at Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, there were less than six positive students and 16 in quarantine. No staff was quarantined and less than six had an active case of COVID-19.

The Iowa Department of Education granted a request by the Fairfield Community School District Friday to extend 100% virtual learning for two more weeks. The district had been set to return to school Monday.

As of Thursday, the district reported 13 staff members and 41 students are in quarantine. In their application to the state, however, the district points out the absentee rate is difficult to track because the district was already doing virtual learning under a previous waiver.

In their application, Fairfield told the state it would intend to return to in-person schooling, potentially with a hybrid model, on Jan. 4.

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 first vice president of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and vice president of the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association.

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