COVID-19 illustration

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

OSKALOOSA — There were 14 new cases of the coronavirus reported in Mahaska County by state officials Friday.

Meanwhile, the state surpassed 1,600 deaths and set another new record for hospitalizations.

Data from the Iowa Department of Public Health, as of Wednesday, said there were three Mahaska County residents and three Marion County residents hospitalized with COVID-19.

Statewide, a record 536 patients were hospitalized as of 10 a.m. Friday, with 134 in an intensive care unit. There were 78 admissions in the last 24 hours.

Around Iowa, about 35% of inpatient beds were available.

Gov. Kim Reynolds, who last held a televised press conference about COVID-19 on Oct. 7, told reporters at a campaign event for U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst Thursday that the state could handle the influx of patients.

"Right now, the hospitals are assuring us that they have the resources to manage the numbers," Reynolds said, according to a report by the Des Moines Register.

She added that about 10% of all hospital patients in Iowa are being treated for COVID-19, and hospitals can handle a surge in patients.

Iowa added 1,581 cases of the coronavirus between Thursday and Friday. There were 23 new deaths, upping the state total to 1,617 in the pandemic. None of the new deaths were in the Herald’s coverage area.

State data also added 928 recoveries and 6,703 new tests in the last 24 hours.

The top-five counties in terms of case growth were Polk (174), Scott (126), Dubuque (111), Linn (89) and Black Hawk (79).

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 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 Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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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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