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A doctor takes a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19 at the Cocodrilos Sports Park in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

OTTUMWA — The White House Coronavirus Task Force is recommending the state considering pausing extra curricular activities, among other things, as Iowa’s virus spread continues.

No changes were made, however, by Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday.

There were 28 new cases of the coronavirus reported in Wapello County between Monday and Tuesday.

Hospitalizations were down slightly in the area, according to the latest available state data from Sunday. There were 13 hospitalized from Wapello County, and 10 in Appanoose County.

Appanoose County had another 11 cases, according to state data. Local public health officials reported two more deaths on Tuesday, increasing the county’s pandemic death total to 27.

Iowa has seen its rise in case growth slow, but Reynolds said Tuesday on the heels of Thanksgiving it's too early to call it a trend.

"While these are positive signs, it's too early to know if they are indicators of a trend," Reynolds said.

The task force report, which isn’t publicly released by the task force but was obtained and published by ABC News, notes that while the state’s spread slowed somewhat last week, it’s still more than double the national average.

Nearly one-third of Iowa’s nursing homes had at least one new resident COVID-19 cases, the task force reported. Nearly two-thirds had a new case within the nursing home staff.

Other suggestions from the task force report included additional mitigation efforts and messaging. The report noted hospitalizations were rising among all age groups.

Iowa added 3,860 cases between Monday and Tuesday, and 19 more deaths were reported. There were 9,790 new people tested and 2,878 new recoveries reported.

Hospitalizations remained shy of records, but near them. There were 1,351 Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday morning, and 275 in an intensive care unit. There were 165 new admissions in the last 24 hours.

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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