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 — More than one-third of those tested were positive for the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, according to state data.

Between 10 a.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. Monday, Iowa added another 540 cases of COVID-19 to its data dashboard, with 14 of those coming from Wapello County.

The state tested just 1,412 new individuals. Since testing data was reported in May, there have only been eight days in which the state reported a 24-hour change of less than 2,000. Of those times, four of them have been in December, including the last three days.

According to state data, collected and analyzed by the Ottumwa Courier, the week of Christmas produced the lowest test numbers of any week since May.

Iowa reported no new deaths on Monday. Death reports are often behind by days and weeks as officials confirm cause of death before adding them to the system. Since March, there have been 3,745 Iowans die from the coronavirus.

Hospitalizations went up from Sunday to Monday, with 586 being hospitalized with COVID-19 in Iowa, an increase of 33 from the prior day. There were 111 in an intensive care unit. There were 82 admitted in the last 24 hours.

In Appanoose County, a long-term care outbreak at the Centerville Speciality Care no longer showed up in the state’s data, signaling the outbreak there has ended.

The ongoing outbreaks included Parkview Care Center in Fairfield, where there have been four cases in the last 14 days. The Bloomfield Care Center and Sunny Brook Living Care Center in Fairfield remain in the state’s report, but haven’t had cases in the last two weeks.

There are no other long-term care outbreaks reported in the area currently.

Monroe County continues to have the highest two-week positivity rate in the state. The percentage went up to 26.8%. All counties in the Courier’s coverage area were above 13%, which is a point higher than the state’s rate of 12%.

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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