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Story County's third death, 32 new COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday

David Mullen
Staff Writer
State health officials reported Story County's third death due to COVID-19, as well as an additional 32 cases on Wednesday. File photo

CORRECTION: This version has been updated to correct a factual error where we mistakenly reported 11 residents at Bethany Life tested positive for the coronavirus. The article now reflects that nine residents and two staff members tested positive. We regret the error.

State health officials reported Story County's third death as a result of COVID-19, along with an additional 32 positive cases, over the past 24 hours.

The county's third death was a resident of Bethany Life, a long-term care facility in Story City, the facility's CEO Betsy Warburton confirmed to the Tribune in an emailed statement.

“We at Bethany Life have sadly had the death of another resident who tested positive for COVID-19. We continue to screen, monitor and test residents and staff according to the government guidelines. We keep the family in our prayers during this very difficult time,” Warburton said in the statement. “Out of respect for the family and due to privacy issues we cannot share any additional information about this case.”

Since the first cases within Bethany Life was reported on June 4, nine residents and two staff members have tested positive, five have fully recovered and two residents have died as a result of the virus.

Steve Sullivan, a spokesperson for Mary Greeley Medical Center and Story County Public Health, confirmed the new cases but did not have any information about where the individuals were tested or current status immediately.

“Public health is just swamped, so getting some of the information (I normally have) has become a challenge,” Sullivan told the Tribune on Tuesday. “Simply because of the work load particularly within the 20 to 25-year age group.”

Since June 1, Story County has seen a major surge in the number of positive cases within the county, as 58% of the county's 291 cases have been confirmed since the beginning of the month. And over the last seven days, 40% of the county's cases have been reported, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health's coronavirus website.

Among these, Bethany Life and Iowa State University's athletic departments have been linked to some cases, the Tribune previously reported.

At ISU, 10 student-athletes have been confirmed by university officials as testing positive for the virus. The announcement was made after the Tribune published an article where Story County Health Board Chair Dr. John Paschen stated the athletic department could be the reason for the recent surge in cases.

The university said among the 10 student-athletes, two are Cyclone football players. On Monday, ISU's News Service Director Angie Hunt said, “athletics has no updates at this time. Should there be an appropriate time for an update, athletics will provide it.”

Throughout the state, state health officials reported 219 new cases over the past 24 hours, as well as nine deaths associated to COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Since COVID-19 first was reported within Iowa, more than 24,379 state residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus which has led to the deaths of 671 Iowans.

In Story County, over 4,400 county residents have been tested since the beginning of March and of the nearly 300 positive cases, 129 individuals have fully recovered and three have died, according to the state health department.