coronavirus

This 2020 electron microscope made available by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention image shows the spherical coronavirus particles from the first U.S. case of COVID-19.

OTTUMWA — State data indicated 19 new cases of COVID-19 in Wapello County Sunday, as the county’s positivity rate over the last 14 days has continued its upward trend.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported at 10 a.m. Sunday that 12.3% of COVID-19 tests in Wapello County have returned positivity in the last 14 days. That makes Wapello County's rate the 16th highest county in the state.

In Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proclamation, she outlined that a rate of 15% combined with an absentee rate above 10% would allow schools in the county to request waivers to move to all-virtual instruction.

Monroe County’s positivity rate is also continuing its increase, with the state reporting it at 12.2%. There were two new cases reported in Monroe Sunday morning.

Elsewhere in the Courier’s coverage area, Appanoose and Jefferson counties each gained one case. There were no new cases reported in Davis and Van Buren counties.

Statewide, there were 881 new cases of the disease reported in state data on Sunday morning. The number reflects the change in total from 10 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday.

In that period, there were 5,793 new individuals tested, 1 new death and 284 newly recovered.

The top-five counties in terms of case growth were Polk (111), Dubuque (86), Woodbury (48), Sioux (45) and Scott (42).

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.

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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