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 (blue/pink) cultured in the lab. Image captured and colorized at NIAID's Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana.

KNOXVILLE — Marion County added 30 new cases of COVID-19, and another related death, according to new state numbers on Thursday.

The new death in Marion County ups the county’s total to 15 in the pandemic.

Between 10 a.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. Thursday, there were seven new cases in Mahaska County. There was one new case reported in the Oskaloosa Care Center outbreak, which is now at 56.

In the last two weeks, 24.4% of tests coronavirus taken by Marion County residents have returned positive. The rate was 22.8% in Mahaska County.

Iowa added 4,337 more cases of COVID-19 in that time span, with 30 new deaths. There were 8,562 Iowans tested for the first time and 1,146 new recoveries reported.

Hospitalizations were again at record levels. Iowa reported 1,208 were hospitalized, a record-high. There were 215 patients in an intensive care unit, another record-high. In the last 24 hours, 207 have been admitted into a hospital.

Local hospitals in Knoxville and Pella urged the community and businesses to be vigilant to help flatten the curve and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

A joint statement on Wednesday from Knoxville Hospital & Clinics and Pella Regional Health Center asked everyone to wear a mask around others, keep six feet between yourself and others, limit groups, wash hands regularly with soap and water, stay home if feeling ill, and to get the flu shot.

"If masking can prevent the spread of the virus to even one person, and potentially save a life, then you have made a tremendous contribution to the wellbeing of your friends and neighbors," the joint statement read.

Gov. Kim Reynolds said all states are experiencing growing numbers of virus spread. While true, Iowa is currently third in the nation for virus spread, behind only North Dakota and South Dakota, according to a data analysis by the New York Times.

Reynolds reported that statewide, COVID-19 patients make up 21% of all hospital stays currently.

The Republican governor announced the state has entered into another contract with NOMI Health for the Test Iowa program — about $3.4 million for additional testing supplies.

Virus spread is in all communities across Iowa, Reynolds. She pointed out that while most cases are in Polk County, when adjusted for population the rural counties of the state are producing higher numbers.

"We're seeing significant community spread across our entire state," she said. "Both in our metro and rural communities. COVID-19 does not discriminate based on geography; the virus is present in all of our communities and all of us can help stop its spread."

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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