Health officials plan to release a new local health order Tuesday to go into effect on Wednesday, July 8.
During a Facebook live update, Riley County Health Department Director Julie Gibbs reported 36 new positive COVID-19 tests and 29 recoveries since Friday, July 3.
That brings the county to 155 active cases, 151 reported recoveries and 3 deaths out of 309 total confirmed cases. One patient remains ventilated at Via Christi Hospital.
Overall, nearly 60 percent of all confirmed positive individuals in the county have fallen into the 18 to 24 age range. That percentile has continued to rise in the past two weeks, indicating younger people represent a large portion of new confirmed positives.
Gibbs says the exact details of Local Health Order No. 14 are still being worked out, noting the decisions will take into account all available data including hospitalizations and the county’s percent positive rate. The order will be unveiled Tuesday, and Gibbs says she anticipates gatherings up to 50 will continue being allowed.
According to a release, the percent positive rate for the week of June 28 was 13.8 percent. That’s down multiple points from the around 18 percent positive rate the previous week.
Since the pandemic’s started, Riley County’s cumulative percent positive rate falls around 9.3 percent, which Gibbs and Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Andrew Adams says is higher than they want to see. Prior to the recent spike, the county regularly fell around the 5 percent positive range.
Adams says the state’s overall percent positive rate is around 8.4 percent, noting this is the first stretch of time in which the county has consistently recorded rates higher than the state rate. He says he’d like to see the rate continue to decrease amid increases in testing capability.
No new cases have been attributed to Riley County EMS nor the outbreak identified by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment within K-State football’s ranks. Outbreaks have also been identified in Aggieville and specifically two district businesses, 785 Bar and Rock A Belly Bar and Deli.
Adams says cumulatively 45 different people have mentioned Aggieville as a place they’ve visited prior to symptom onset. On average, he says, those folks have visited 2 different businesses per person during their visit.
Riley County commissioners Monday also voted to opt out of the governor’s mask mandate for public spaces. Gibbs says the decision did not surprise her, saying she was already aware of the commissioner’s thoughts and feelings on the topic. She also says numerous emails for and against the mandate have come in since the vote.
Gibbs encouraged face coverings despite the vote, saying there is scientific evidence demonstrating their effectiveness in reducing COVID-19 infection rates in populations. She further says physical distancing and general good hand hygiene also go a long way in reducing virus spread.
Adams and Gibbs also report that there have been no reported instances of reinfection locally among those who previously tested positive. Further, they encourage those identified as close contacts of confirmed positive individuals to work with contact tracers. Gibbs says any information provided to them could assist in efforts to stem further infection.
Those with COVID-19 symptoms are can call the screening line Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Questions can also be directed to Rileycountycovid19@gmail.com.