Virus Outbreak Florida

Health care workers prepare a COVID-19 test sample before a person self-administered a test at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center at Miami-Dade County Auditorium in Miami as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues on Thursday, July 23, 2020.

OTTUMWA — In the last 24 hours, Iowa has added more than 4,800 new cases of the coronavirus — 33 of those in Wapello County and 24 in Appanoose County.

Data from the Iowa Department of Public Health showed another 25 Iowans have died with COVID-19.

Iowa added 4,830 new cases of the coronavirus between 10 a.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday, according to state data.

The state also hit a record for hospitalizations for the seventh straight day, with 1,261 in the hospital with COVID-19 as of Saturday morning. There are 246 patients in an intensive care unit, which is also a record. In the last 24 hours, 217 patients were admitted with the virus.

Active cases in Wapello County continue to grow, up to 523 as of Saturday morning. In the last two weeks, an average of 25.6% of COVID-19 tests taken by Wapello County residents has returned positive.

That’s five times the rate experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say an area is a hot spot.

The highest positivity rate in the Courier’s six-county coverage area is in Appanoose County, where 30.9% of tests have returned positive in the last two weeks. The rate is the eighth highest in the state.

Active cases in Appanoose County are up to 376 as of Saturday morning, following the addition of 24 new positive virus tests.

Around the Courier’s coverage area, Jefferson County added 21 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday. There were 12 new cases in Davis County, seven in Monroe and six in Van Buren.

The long-term care facility at the Good Samaritan Society in Ottumwa was the only facility to see an update in state data on Saturday. The facility added one new cases, raising the total to 134 since the outbreak began in early August.

Vani Tschantz, the administrator of the facility, said that as of late Friday the facility had 12 active cases among residents and eight active among staff members.

There were 10,526 individuals tested for the first time around the state between 10 a.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday, with 1,049 new recoveries reported in that time span.

Since the pandemic reached Iowa in March, there have been 180,253 Iowans test positive for COVID-19. Of those, 107,540 have recovered and 1,972 have died. There have been 1,089,768 Iowans tested for the virus at least once, according to state data as of Saturday morning.

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 coronavirus.iowa.gov. 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.

Those wanting to be tested can visit testiowa.com to schedule a test at the Ottumwa Test Iowa Clinic.

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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