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 — Iowa hit a new record for COVID-19 deaths Wednesday, as case growth continued throughout the state on the heels of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The Iowa Department of Public Health added 47 deaths to their COVID-19 dashboard between Tuesday and Wednesday. A record for a single day, but many deaths happened days ago or longer.

According to additional data from the state, most of the deaths occurred on or before Nov. 21.

One of the new deaths was in Marion County, the 19th in the pandemic for the county.

There were another 3,365 positive cases of the coronavirus identified in Iowans between Tuesday and Wednesday. Of those, 23 were Marion County residents and 19 were Mahaska County residents.

There’s a discrepancy on the number of active cases in Marion County, with local officials reporting 215 active cases as of the latest available data from Monday. The state, meanwhile, reports the county has 876 active cases as of Wednesday morning.

The difference is the number of recoveries reported, with Marion County reporting far more as recovered than is indicated in the state data.

There were 496 active cases in Mahaska County, according to state data. Local public health officials have not released data to conflict with that number.

The rate of positive tests has went down in both Marion and Mahaska counties in recent days, though still remains significantly higher than the 5% recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as deeming a community a hotspot.

The rate over the last two weeks was 21.7% in Marion County and 18.9% in Mahaska County.

Around the state, hospitalizations remained high, with 1,305 admitted with COVID-19 and 269 in an intensive care unit. There were 198 admissions in the last 24 hours around the state.

The latest available state data from Monday reported hospitalizations from Marion County were up to 16, and hospitalizations from Mahaska County were down to two.

While numbers have backed away shy of record highs seen in the last few weeks, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday it’s too soon to tell if the trend is being reversed.

“We’re monitoring it,” Reynolds said. “We have seen …. stabilization for sure, possible maybe a trend down, but it is way, way, way too early to really say this is a trend.”

She warned that even with the slightly lower numbers of new cases each day, the state can not handle a spike in cases that has been seen with prior summer holidays.

“As we saw during the summer months, holidays can result in a spike of virus activity and new cases, something we cannot risk at this time,” Reynolds said.

The Friday edition of the Oskaloosa Herald went to press Wednesday evening. For the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic, visit

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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