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).

KNOXVILLE — The climb of COVID-19 cases continued in Marion County, according to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, there have been 595 individuals test positive for the COVID-19 disease in Marion County since the pandemic began in March. That's an increase of 16 since 10 a.m. Sunday.

In the 24 hour time span, there were 185 new individuals reported to have been tested. The county's 14-day positivity rate, as reported by the state, rose slightly to 16.3%.

While the county's number of new cases has slowed slightly since reaching a new peak on Sept. 1, the number of cases added in the last two weeks is still more than four times the previous peak the county experienced in July.

There were four new cases reported in Mahaska County, and 19 new individuals reported to be tested. The 14-day positivity rate for the county is 9.1%.

The Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont school district, which comprises portions of Wapello and Mahaska counties, announced Friday it was switching to a hybrid instruction model district-wide. The switch comes a week after grades 7-12 of the district had started a hybrid model. Now, the rest of the district will follow.

Administrators of the district said in a letter to parents, dated Sept. 4, that the district is experiencing a "significant outbreak" of COVID-19. The hybrid plan will be in place through Oct. 2. The district will also now require face masks.

Hybrid instruction splits students into two cohorts, allowing half the student body to attend school each day. On days when students are not at school in-person, they'll be required to learn virtually.

In their latest update on Sept. 4, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont reported 122 students in quarantine around the district. There have been 12 students test positive and there are four students with pending tests.

There have been 18 staff members of the district test positive, with two awaiting test results.

Statewide, there were 558 new cases of the disease and two new deaths. The state reported 209 new recoveries and 3,144 new tests.

The top-five counties in terms of case growth between Sunday and Monday were Polk (70), Johnson (66), Linn (42), Story (33), and Woodbury (32).

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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