COVID-19 outbreak declared at Meadowlark Hills as county sees drop in active cases since Thursday

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Riley County Health and KDHE have confirmed a COVID-19 outbreak at Meadowlark Hills in Manhattan.

A total of 8 staff and residents have tested positive within a unit at the retirement community — 6 of which are new cases. 1 was previously reported, another is not a Riley County resident. According to a press release from Community Relations Director Sarah Duggan, the cases are linked to one dementia care house.

An outbreak is identified when 5 or more infections are linked via contact tracing to a single place, person or period of time.

Meadowlark has been operating in accordance with all recommended health precautions from federal, state and local sources, health officials say. The not-for-profit organization is home to 330 and employs nearly 500 people. All employees are screened prior to work daily, but one asymptomatic employee tested positive.

“A young person who does not feel sick or is not exhibiting symptoms may still be infected and can unknowingly spread COVID-19 to those at high risk,” says Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Andrew Adams. “Meadowlark Hills has been, and continues to, take every precaution and measure to protect their staff and residents, and have acted quickly to investigate, test, trace and isolate individuals impacted by COVID-19. The health department has been in contact with Meadowlark Hills staff and are working together to respond to this outbreak. “

A majority of residents who tested positive are reported as asymptomatic, having been tested due to close contact with a positive individual. Around 80 residents and staff have been tested as a result.

CEO Lonnie Baker expressed in a release the organization’s continued commitment to serving its residents and staff amid the outbreak.

“Our teams ask the public to support this important effort by taking care of themselves and following precautions,” Baker says. “Meadowlark’s greatest challenge has been and will continue to be asymptomatic spreaders of the novel coronavirus, which is a product of community spread.”

Riley County Friday reported 8 new positive COVID-19 tests and 16 recoveries since Thursday.

59 negative results came in as well.

That makes 129 active cases — a net decrease of 8 — 250 recoveries, 3 deaths out of 382 confirmed cases. 3,646 of 4,279 total reported tests have come back negative, 251 are pending.

No positive patients are hospitalized at Ascension Via Christi Hospital, but 5 people with symptoms are in the hospital awaiting results.

Those experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been a close contact of a positive individual are encouraged to call the Riley County COVID-19 screening line at (785)323-6400 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. as well as their doctor to schedule a test. Those with general questions can email them to rileycountycovid19@gmail.com.

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About Author

Nick McNamara

Local government reporter, sometimes host/producer of the KMAN Morning Show. 2017 Long Beach State graduate in Journalism/Native American cultures. Los Angeles County born and raised. Nick can be reached at Nick@1350KMAN.com.

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