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.

OSKALOOSA — There were 1,652 new cases of the coronavirus confirmed in Iowa in the last 24 hours, with 10 additional deaths.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 21 of the new cases were confirmed in Marion County residents. There were 16 new cases reported in Mahaska County between 10 a.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. Wednesday.

None of the 10 new deaths reported were in Mahaska or Marion county. Death reports are delayed by days and weeks as officials confirm them before entering them into the system. The deaths reported today occurred as far back as Nov. 28 and as recently as Christmas Eve.

The 14-day statewide positivity rate average was at 12.8% in Iowa, up a full percentage point from the prior day. The rate was down slightly in Mahaska County to 19.5% and up to 19.1% in Marion County.

Total hospitalizations were down slightly from the prior day to 612, as of Wednesday morning. There were 127 in an intensive care unit, up 10 from the prior day. In the last 24 hours, there were 105 Iowans admitted into the hospital.

Locally, there were three Mahaska County residents hospitalized as of the latest available data from Monday afternoon. There were six Marion County residents hospitalized.

Since the pandemic began, 278,600 Iowans have contracted COVID-19. Of those, Iowa reports 236,656 have recovered and 3,822 have died.

Marion County has had 2,654 residents test positive for COVID-19 to date, with 2,079 reportedly recovered. Since the pandemic began, 47 have died.

In Mahaska County, 1,697 residents test positive for COVID-19, with 1,289 reportedly recovered. Since the pandemic began, 33 have died.

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.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This edition of the Oskaloosa Herald was produced Wednesday afternoon. For the latest on the coronavirus pandemic locally, visit for daily updates.

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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