Virus Outbreak Washington

A worker wearing gloves and other PPE holds a nasal swab, Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, at a King County COVID-19 testing site in Auburn, Wash., south of Seattle.

OTTUMWA — Nearly five dozen more Wapello County residents have tested positive for the coronavirus, as the county’s average of positive tests grew Saturday.

There were 3,627 new cases of COVID-19 statewide between 10 a.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday, according to numbers from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Of those, 56 were in Wapello County. Another 17 in Jefferson County, 16 in Appanoose, 14 in Davis, seven in Monroe and three in Van Buren.

In the last two weeks, 25.4% of tests taken by Wapello County residents have returned positive in the last 14 days — more than five times the rate the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says determines a hot spot.

The rate is higher in Davis and Appanoose counties, though it continued to inch down from recent highs. The 14-day positivity rate was 28.3% in Davis and 26.6% in Appanoose, as of Saturday morning.

Statewide hospitalization numbers remain at near-record numbers, with 1,416 Iowans in the hospital with COVID-19 and 273 of them in an intensive care unit. There were 200 admissions in the last 24 hours, according to state data.

Iowa had another 32 die from COVID-19, but the state’s numbers appear to trail those reported by local officials.

The state reports 71 deaths in Wapello County, but the local public health department reports 79 have died from the coronavirus. The discrepancy continues elsewhere, like in Appanoose County where the state repots six deaths but local officials say the tally is actually 24.

State data showed that 9,141 Iowans were tested for the first time in the last 24 hours, and 1,442 were reported to have recovered from COVID-19.

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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