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).

OSKALOOSA — Active cases continued to grow in the area Monday — up to 625 in Marion County and 440 in Mahaska County.

Data from the Iowa Department of Public Heath reported that there were 23 new cases of the coronavirus were reported in Mahaska County between 10 a.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. Monday. Another 20 were reported in Marion County.

Iowa added 2,335 cases of COVID-19 in that time span, while also reporting six new deaths.

The 14-day positivity rate was 25.9% in Marion County, down slightly from Sunday. The rate also decreased slightly in Mahaska County to 21.2%.

The rates are still more than four times the rate of 5% the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says deems an area a hot spot for virus spread.

For the ninth straight day, hospitalizations in Iowa hit records. Around the state, 1,392 patients were in hospitals with COVID-19, with 271 in an intensive care unit — both numbers are records. There were 243 patients admitted in the last 24 hours, also a record.

There were 17 hospitalized in Marion County and seven in Mahaska County, as of the latest available state data for county hospitalizations dated Saturday afternoon.

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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