coronavirus

OSKALOOSA — Two more local residents have died due to the coronavirus, according to new state data on Tuesday.

Data from the Iowa Department of Public Health indicates the coronavirus was a contributing cause in the death of a Mahaska County resident. The individual was a male and over 80 years old with pre-existing conditions.

In Marion County, a female over the age of 80 died with an underlying cause of COVID-19 and had pre-existing conditions.

The two deaths are included in the 67 new deaths reported in Iowa caused by the coronavirus. Death reports are delayed by days and sometimes weeks as state officials confirm them before they appear in state data. To date, there have been 3,812 Iowans die because of the coronavirus.

The deaths added to the state’s coronavirus dashboard on Tuesday go as far back as Nov. 13 and as recent as Dec. 22.

Mahaska County added another 38 cases of the coronavirus between Monday and Tuesday morning. There were 30 new cases reported in Marion County.

Iowa added 1,475 new cases of the coronavirus, and reported that 3,901 individuals were tested in the last 24 hours.

Statewide, hospitalizations were back above 600 after spending three days below that number. As of Tuesday morning, the state reported 620 were hospitalized, an increase of 34 from the prior day. There were 117 in an intensive care unit, up from 111 the prior day. In the last 24 hours, there were 24 new hospital admissions.

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 coronavirus.iowa.gov. 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 kocker@oskyherald.com. 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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