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 — Marion County added another 35 cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, as the state added more than 4,000 and continued record hospitalization numbers. There was also another death.

State data indicated that the 13th resident of Marion County has died with COVID-19, an increase of one from the number reported Friday.

There were 16 new cases added in Mahaska County between 10 a.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Iowa posted 4,249 new cases of the coronavirus Saturday, adding to what has been a record week for virus growth in the state. Since November began on Sunday, there have been 21,034 new cases confirmed. The state added 37,745 cases in all of October, which is currently the worst month in the pandemic.

Hospitalizations continued at near-record levels. Hospital leaders across the state telling the public they need to make sacrifices to stop the spread of the virus before hospitals become overwhelmed. Those sacrifices include wearing a mask, social distancing, practicing good hygiene and avoiding large crowds and gatherings.

On Thursday, Gov. Kim Reynolds said it is small gatherings that are playing the biggest role in the state’s record growth of the coronavirus. She joined hospital leaders in calling for Iowans to make sacrifices to help the state control what has become one of the highest rates of virus spread in the nation.

As active cases in Mahaska and Marion continue to increase, a higher percentage of tests are returning positive in both counties. On Saturday, the state reported 343 active cases in Mahaska County and a positivity rate of 20.9%. In Marion County there were 302 active cases and the positivity rate was 21%.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a rate of 5% is indicative of significant community spread. A rate of 20% is the level set by Reynolds for schools to request waivers to move to all-virtual instruction if they choose to. The state must still approve the waiver request if one is made.

Around the state, 901 were hospitalized as of Saturday morning. There were 194 in an intensive care unit, a record. Another record was hit for patients admitted in the last 24 hours, with 165.

The state reported 14 new deaths on Saturday, 8,649 new individuals tested and 1,151 new recoveries.

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.

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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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