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. Image captured and colorized at NIAID’s Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana.

OSKALOOSA — There have been two more deaths related to the COVID-19 pandemic in Mahaska County, according to state data.

Between 10 a.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. Wednesday, Mahaska County increased to 24 total deaths in the pandemic, an increase of two over the last 24 hours.

The deaths were included in the 31 new deaths in Iowa on Wednesday — a single-day record in the pandemic.

In that same time span, the number of confirmed cases in Mahaska County increased by 24, according to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

There were nine new cases reported in Marion County on Tuesday.

The state also hit a new high for hospitalizations, with 534 COVID-19 patients. There were 134 in an intensive care unit, the highest number since May 13.

Statewide, Iowa saw an increase of 1,276 new cases of the virus. There were 1,160 new recoveries and 5,930 new individuals tested.

The top-five counties in terms of case growth were Polk (125), Dubuque (78), Black Hawk (78), Linn (75) and Scott (67).

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.

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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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