This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (pink) cultured in the lab. Image captured and colorized at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana.

OSKALOOSA — Another five residents of Mahaska County have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 disease, according to state data.

At 10 a.m. Monday, the number of cases to date in Mahaska County increased to 456, up five from 10 a.m. Sunday. Marion County’s caseload increased by four in that period.

The Oskaloosa Community School District reported Monday that a "member" of the Oskaloosa Middle School had tested positive for COVID-19. Face-to-face learning will still continue there, they said.

As of Monday morning, the district reported that less than six students and less than six staff members have tested positive for the disease. There were 22 students in quarantine and less than six staff members in quarantine.

The Pella Community School District last reported Friday that six students are absent due to COVID-19. District-wide, about 2.1% of students were absent Friday for either COVID-19 or another sickness.

While the Knoxville Community School District does not regularly report COVID-19 data online like neighboring districts, they did include five-day averages in a recent newsletter to parents. The week of Sept. 25-Oct. 1, a five-day average of 0.03% of students had an active case of COVID-19 and 1.33% were absent. No staff was positive and 1.38% of staff were quarantined.

On Monday, Iowa reported just 356 new cases in that timespan. There were 2,644 new individuals tested, seven new deaths and 218 new recoveries in Iowa.

The state reported 105 active cases in Mahaska County and 55 in Marion County.

Last week the state added 5,705 cases between Sept. 27 and Sunday. The growth included four consecutive days with more than 1,000 new cases reported by the state. That streak ended on Sunday.

In Iowa, there are 19,715 active cases of the disease as of 10 a.m. Monday.

The top-six counties in terms of growth Monday were Woodbury (53), Dubuque (30), Linn (25), Polk (24), Johnson (15) and Sioux (15).

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.

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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