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 — More than 200 Wapello County residents are currently infected with COVID-19, according to the local public health department.

Another 74 residents tested positive with the coronavirus in the seven-day period ending Friday. Of those, 36 cases were confirmed in the last three days.

The Wapello County Public Health Department reported that a majority of the new cases are in individuals that are not vaccinated. The breakthrough cases report very mild symptoms, they said, while those not vaccinated are generally more ill.

In mid-July, the county had just 19 active cases. A month later, officials report 212 active cases, as of Friday.

Appanoose County is up to 56 active cases of the coronavirus. The public health office there has reported 14 new cases in the last seven days, as of Friday.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 87% of counties in the United States have a high level of community transmission.

In Iowa, Appanoose is the only county rated below a high or substantial level of transmission. The CDC reports they are experiencing moderate transmission. All other counties in the Courier's coverage area are experiencing high transmission.

According to a New York Times analysis of the state's COVID-19 data, cases of the virus in Iowa are up 63% in the last two weeks and hospitalizations are up 71%. The state is adding an average of about 814 cases per day.

Data reported on Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health reported 5,900 new positive tests in a rolling seven-day period. That was roughly in line with the number reported the prior week. It's the highest the seven-day trends have been since early February.

More than half of the new cases are in Iowans under the age of 40.

The number of Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19 exceeded 400 on Monday, the highest hospital usage since January.

Iowa reports that about 48% of residents are fully vaccinated. The New York Times reported Friday, citing sources within the Food and Drug Administration, that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is expected to receive full approval on Monday.

Individuals interested in receiving the vaccine can contact their health care providers, pharmacies or local public health offices. Or, they can also consult with state and federal resources. Iowa offers a COVID-19 hotline that can help schedule appointments at 211, providers can be found at vaccinate.iowa.gov/providers.

Texting your ZIP code to 438829 (or 822862 for Spanish) is a federal service that will reply with three locations with vaccines in stock. The Department of Health and Human Services also has established a website for vaccine information at wecandothis.hhs.gov.

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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