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).

KNOXVILLE — The 14-day positivity rate in Marion County has dropped to its lowest level since Aug. 21.

The Iowa Department of Public Health, as of 10 a.m. Tuesday, said that in the last 14 days 12.7% of coronavirus tests have returned a positive result in Marion County.

It's the lowest the rate has been in 25 days. Since the rate was tracked and reported by the state, it has climbed as high as 18.1% on Aug. 29.

Even with the drop in the positivity rate, Marion County continues to add cases. On Tuesday, data indicated 12 new cases of the COVID-19 disease in Marion County since 10 a.m. Monday. State data reports there are 263 active cases.

In the last seven days, the county has seen 364 new individuals tested and 72 new cases reported.

Mahaska County saw two new cases reported on Tuesday.

Statewide, there were 508 new cases of the disease confirmed, with 12 new deaths. In the last 24 hours, there were 938 new recoveries reported and 3,504 new individuals tested.

The top-five counties in terms of case growth since Monday were Polk (56), Woodbury (47), Johnson (37), Story (33), and Dubuque (23).

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.

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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