Update: Noon Thursday
Positive cases of COVID-19 continue to climb locally, now up to eight positive in Riley County according to the Emergency Operations Center.
Two of those cases are being treated at Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan. Nine tests are currently pending and the health department continues to monitor 28 individuals. So far 70 people have tested negative.
The most recent cases are all travel associated, linked to travel outside of the community or close contact to others who have traveled and tested positive for COVID-19.
Update: 10:45 a.m. Thursday
More positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Riley County. As of Thursday, that total is now up to seven, with 12 pending tests, including some from Fort Riley. More than two dozen residents are currently being monitored.
Specific details about that case and another announced at Wednesday’s daily press conference have not been released. So far there have been 70 negative tests from Riley County.
Check back for further updates and tune in to News Radio KMAN’s daily newscasts on air.
5:30 p.m. Wednesday
With a newly confirmed case Wednesday, Riley County now totals six positively tested cases of COVID-19 Health Department Director Julie Gibbs said at their daily press conference.
Including Fort Riley figures, Gibbs says they are still awaiting the results of 12 tests and have 22 people that are being monitored. Riley County has seen 53 negative tests. At this point, she says there is no evidence of community spread. As tests become more available, medical providers are hoping to start more testing more liberally.
“Another individual who was tested at the swabbing station yesterday showed up positive today and has been contacted and is being isolated at home,” Gibbs says.
Gibbs says they have no further information on the latest individual to test positive, but RCPD detectives are assisting in contact tracing. Riley County has 12 pending tests and 22 people are being monitored.
“I cannot stress enough how important it is to stay home at this time,” Gibbs says. “This may be uncomfortable especially when it will mean cancelling travel plans, not physically being able to see someone you love or not being able to do something that you were looking forward to, but your sacrifices now could save your life or someone else’s life in the future.”
She encourages residents to only share verified information and to counter misinformation when they come across it on social media.
Additionally, area authorities will be on the lookout for businesses in violation of orders to shut down. RCPD Asstant Director Kurt Moldrup urges businesses not exempt under the Kansas Essential Functions Framework laid out by the governor’s executive order to close their doors.
“Officers will begin delivering notice to close forms to businesses that are not exempt and that are open,” says Moldrup. “That form will be a notice from the Health Director Julie Gibbs telling you that your business needs to close and you have 24 hours to do it.”
He says they will follow up with enforcement action as necessary, but they hope to handle the situation without such measures.
“The goal here is to educate the businesses, gain voluntary compliance so you can support your community in not spreading this virus,” says Moldrup. “Actually, that’s probably the secondary goal. The primary goal is for everyone to stay at home, and this gives people a reason to stay at home and not go out to various businesses that are open. ”
Moldrup says RCPD will be in contact with Pottawatomie County Sheriffs officials to coordinate enforcement on the Pottawatomie County side of Manhattan. More information on exempt businesses can be found at KEFF.KS.GOV. Non-compliant businesses can be reported at Rileycountycovid19@gmail.com.
Gibbs says as cases accelerate through April, the department will shift to once per day updates on new cases and not issue releases for each new positive test.
“This is the greatest public health crisis most all of us have faced in our lifetimes and potentially will face in our lifetimes,” says Dr. Ryan Knopp. “We have to exhibit and understand the gravity of the situation and convey that to our friends, family and community.”
He says medical professionals have been in close contact and have a road map going forward on how to handle the situation and care for the community.
“We are here for you, we are glad to serve on the frontlines of this pandemic, we will self-sacrifice endlessly for the betterment of our community,” says Knopp. “All that we ask are some simple things in return.”
“Stay home, stay safe, stop the spread, save lives, period — it works.”
He also encourages regularly sanitizing surfaces, washing hands, avoiding touching your face and physical distancing when out and about. Additionally, Knopp urges the public to mentally prepare for the coming month as they anticipate confirmed case numbers to continue increasing.
Those looking to donate non-food supplies can cqall (785) 537-3113. Those looking to donate medical supplies such as N-95 masks (785) 587-5462.
Exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus? Call the screening line at (785) 323-6400. Other questions and answers can be directed to (785) 587-5462. More information on the county’s stay at home order can be found at RileyCountyKS.gov under the coronavirus box. More on the governor’s order can be found at KDHEKS.Gov.