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 — Marion and Mahaska County each had a half dozen newly confirmed coronavirus cases reported Sunday morning.

According to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health, there were six new cases of COVID-19 in Mahaska County and six new cases in Marion County, between 10 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday.

Cases at the Oskaloosa Care Center long-term care center outbreak have jumped to 34 confirmed, up from the 12 that was reported Friday. The West Ridge Specialty Care outbreak in Knoxville remained at nine cases, according to state data.

The 14-day positivity rate, out of the Herald’s coverage area, remained highest in Mahaska County at 14.4%. It was 10.1% in Marion County.

Statewide, there were 915 new cases of the COVID-19 disease reported with two new deaths. There were 4,797 new individuals tested and 309 new recoveries. State data reports 23,753 active cases in Iowa.

The top-five counties in terms of growth were Polk (81), Scott (64), Dubuque (62), Linn (58) and Woodbury (47).

Hospitalizations remained at near-record levels Sunday. In Iowa, with 475 hospitalized with COVID-19. There were 108 patients in an intensive care unit. There were 84 new admissions in the last 24 hours.

The coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease 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.

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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