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., emerging from the surface of cells (blue/pink) cultured in the lab. Image captured and colorized at NIAID's Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana.

OSKALOOSA — From Christmas Eve to Christmas Day, Mahaska County saw an increase of 22 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to state data. There were 13 new cases in Marion County.

Iowa reported an increase of 1,473 cases statewide as another 4,993 individuals were reportedly tested.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported five new deaths between 10 a.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday. Death reports lag by days and sometimes weeks as officials work to confirm them, however. The five deaths reported for the first time today occurred on Nov. 26, Dec. 9, Dec. 17, Dec. 19 and Dec. 22.

None of the deaths were in the Herald’s coverage area.

With only 336 new recoveries reported, the number of active cases reported rose in the state and in both Marion and Mahaska counties.

Iowa’s positivity rate over the last two weeks went down slightly, to 12.3%

There were 600 hospitalized in Iowa, down 25 from Thursday and the lowest number reported since Oct. 28. The number of patients in an intensive care unit was 121, the lowest number since Oct. 25.

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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