County officials confirm 16th positive COVID-19 case; 13 recover

KNOXVILLE — An outbreak of COVID-19 has been reported at a long-term care facility in Marion County.

The West Ridge Specialty Care has had seven positive cases so far, according to date reported from the Iowa Department of Public Health. The outbreak appeared on the state’s coronavirus dashboard between Wednesday and Thursday.

The outbreak comes after cases in Marion County increased significantly in the month of August into September. Case growth, however, has since slowed. There have been 159 cases added in the last two weeks, down from 285 at the start of September.

Marion County saw three new cases between 10 a.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Thursday, according to data reported by the state. To date, since the pandemic began, there have been 611 confirmed cases in Marion County.

The positivity rate, as reported by the state, over the last 14 days is 14.4% as of 10 a.m. Thursday.

The state was also reporting that Marion County has had another death, with the total rising to three in Thursday morning’s data. Local officials have not confirmed the death nor provided more details.

There were four cases added in that time period in Mahaska County. The positivity rate was 9.9% as of Thursday morning.

Statewide, hospitalizations declined from Wednesday to Thursday, but have been trending upward since the start of July. There are 302 hospitalized as of data reported at 10 a.m. Thursday, down from 322 the day before. However, the number of new admissions have trended higher than they were in mid-May when much of the state and country were shut down.

The state reports 48 new hospital admissions in the last 24 hours, statewide, as of 10 a.m. Thursday.

Iowa added 819 new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease, with 20 deaths. There were 703 new recoveries reported and 6,607 new individuals tested.

The top-five counties in terms of single-day case growth were Polk (94), Linn (66), Johnson (53), Henry (40), and Story (39).

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 Oskaloosa Herald 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 Oskaloosa Herald and the Ottumwa Courier. He can be reached at kocker@oskyherald.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

Group Editor

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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