SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19

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.

KNOXVILLE — Marion County added another 43 cases of the coronavirus Friday, as virus spread continued across Iowa.

Hospitalizations in the county were down slightly, but remained high at 19, as of the latest available data. In Mahaska County, 10 are hospitalized.

Knoxville Hospitals & Clinics was featured in an NBC News segment Friday, with a local doctor saying the hospital is on the edge of catastrophe.

“You’re right on the cusp of things going from ugly to horrible,” Dr. Brent Hoehns told NBC News. “And that’s where they’re living right now.”

The hospital has created a COVID-19 unit, and capacity remains a daily worry, according to Dr. James Law.

There were 4,359 new cases of COVID-19 reported across Iowa between 10 a.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday. There were 25 deaths in that time span.

Mahaska County reported 15 new cases of COVID-19 between Thursday and Friday.

Hospitalizations continued to rage at near-record numbers, with 1,447 currently admitted in Iowa, with 275 in an intensive care unit. There were 207 admissions in the last 24 hours.

Cases reported at area nursing homes rose, as the state also began reporting a new metric: positive cases in the last 14 days.

Accura Healthcare in Knoxville reported the biggest increase, with 22 new cases added. Though state data show most of those cases are more than two weeks old. The facility has had just nine new cases reported in the last 14 days.

The Cottages in Pella has had 12 new cases in the last two weeks, with their total in their ongoing outbreak up to 25.

In Mahaska County, the Oskaloosa Care Center has had no new cases in the last two weeks, according to state data.

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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