COVID-19 tests

This is a picture of CDC’s laboratory test kit for SARS-CoV-2 (also known as COVID-19 or coronavirus). CDC tests are provided to U.S. state and local public health laboratories and Department of Defense laboratories that were either previously qualified for being able to perform a similar type of test used to detect influenza or have been recently approved by their state public health laboratory for SARS-CoV-2 testing.

Confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease nearly doubled in Mahaska County over the weekend.

On Friday, Mahaska County had 45 positive cases of the disease. That count had propelled to 85, as of 8 a.m. Monday, according to state data.

About a dozen of the new cases were attributed to the Crystal Heights Care Center outbreak. The number of employees who have tested positive since the outbreak began is now 13, with 48 patients now positive. One employee has recovered since testing positive.

County-wide 33 tests for the disease came back positive on Sunday alone. There were 95 people tested on Saturday.

On Monday, officials with Crystal Heights reported two new deaths over the weekend, bringing the facility’s toll to six.

About 13% of individuals tested in Mahaska County have been positive for the COVID-19 disease since the outbreak began, according to state data. That’s slightly below the statewide percentage of 13.2%.

Northern Mahaska Specialty Care said on May 19 that two employees had tested positive for the disease, but no further cases have been announced there.

Numbers from the Mahaska County Emergency Management report that 20 COVID-19 patients have recovered while another 55 are at home recovering. Only three hospitalized. To date there have been six deaths attributed to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 disease, which is caused by the new coronavirus, is generally mild in up to 80% of cases. Typically, the disease causes symptoms similar to a cold or the flu.

In some cases, though, the disease is much more severe, can require hospitalization and ventilators, and can lead to death. Those who are elderly or immunocompromised are typically those impacted by the disease the most.

In Marion County, local officials on Friday added eight positive COVID-19 cases, increasing their total to 34. As of Monday morning, however, state data only show the county with 29.

Kim Dorn, the Marion County Public Health Director, said the county’s COVID-19 count is still fairly low compared to nearby counties.

“Some of our neighboring counties have had very large increases, so I think our citizens are doing a really good job of practicing those protective actions,” says Dorn.

As testing increases in nearby Wapello County, cases there have also risen over the weekend. Local officials there are reporting 478 confirmed cases but state data has them at 513 as of Monday morning.

Wapello County has shown a higher positive percentage rate during the outbreak, with about 24% of those tested returning a positive result.

Monroe County, where there has also been a long-term care outbreak, has been largely idle in cases. They currently have 33, adding only four new cases since May 14.

Jasper County has 256 positive cases, but only 65 have been added in May.

A similar situation in Poweshiek County, where they report 88 cases but most of those came at the end of April.

Kyle Ocker can be reached at kocker@dailyiowegian. He is a regional editor for the Oskaloosa Herald and Centerville Daily Iowegian. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

Kyle Ocker can be reached at kocker@dailyiowegian. He is a regional editor for the Oskaloosa Herald and Centerville Daily Iowegian. 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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