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. Image captured and colorized at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana.

OSKALOOSA — Following weeks of exponential growth of coronavirus cases, Iowa suffered its deadliest day Wednesday.

There were 40 Iowans reported to have died from the coronavirus, a record for a single 24-hour period. Between 10 a.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. Wednesday, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported there were 3,896 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the state. There were 9,409 new tests in that period.

Record hospitalizations continued around the state for an 11th straight day, with 1,527 Iowans in the hospital with the virus. There were 283 in an intensive care unit, and 234 admitted in the last 24 hours.

In Marion County, 23 new cases were reported. Hospitalizations in the county were at 18, according to the latest numbers from local public health officials.

The 14-day positivity rate increased in Marion, down to 26%. That rate is more than five times higher than the recommended level for businesses to reopen, according to experts with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to state data, there were 687 active cases of the virus in Marion County as of Wednesday morning.

In Mahaska County, 11 are hospitalized, according to the latest available state numbers from Monday evening. The county added 14 new cases of COVID-19, upping active cases to 450.

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.

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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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