COVID-19

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.

OTTUMWA — The 94th and 95th residents of Wapello County have died, according to new state data. Their deaths were caused by the coronavirus.

Iowa reported 83 more deaths on Tuesday, raising the state's death tally to 4,222. The Associated Press, citing researchers from Johns Hopkins University, reported that Iowa held the 17th highest death capita rate in the United States.

Death reports are delayed by days and weeks while they are confirmed. The new deaths reported Tuesday by the Iowa Department of Public Health include deaths that occurred as far back as Nov. 9.

One of the two Wapello County deaths reported Tuesday was an individual between the ages of 40-49 years old. It was the fourth death in a resident under the age of 50 years old, according to an analysis of state data.

The other Wapello County death was a person between the ages of 70-79 years old.

Both had pre-existing conditions, which include a variety of other health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.

One new death was reported in Appanoose County, a 70-79-year-old male with pre-existing conditions. It is the county's 38th death.

More than half of Iowa's 99 counties have a 14-day positivity rate of more than 15%. Experts from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say a rate of 5% is safe.

Iowa's positivity rate was down slightly to 14.1%, the state public health department reported Tuesday.

Monroe County continues to see rampant virus spread, with their positivity rate average increasing to 36.7% — the highest rate of any county in Iowa, and more than seven times the rate experts consider safe. The county of about 7,700 has 235 active cases and has added 105 new cases so far in January, according to state data. To date, there have been 775 known cases of the virus in Monroe County.

State data showed another 1,199 cases of the coronavirus confirmed in Iowa. Of those, 15 were in Wapello, nine in Jefferson, six in Appanoose, four in Monroe, two in Davis and one in Van Buren.

There were 3,454 more individuals tested for the virus, and another 2,595 were reportedly recovered.

In Iowa, there were 552 hospitalized with COVID-19 and 90 in an intensive care unit. There were 62 new admissions in the last 24 hours.

Numbers from the CDC report there have been 98,691 Iowans who have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Nationwide, nearly 9 million have been vaccinated.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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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