Health experts are urging continued vigilance as Riley County braces for possibly its highest number of monthly infections to date.
In Riley County, November has been off to a rough start. Through the first 13 days of the month, the health department added 548 new cases of COVID-19, including 410 cases just this week. To put that in perspective, 364 new cases were added the entire month of October, an average of just under 12 cases per day. Three of the county’s 14 COVID-related deaths have also occurred in November.
The November average is currently about 42 cases per day, meaning if those trends continue, Riley County will finish November with around 1,260 new infections, which would surpass the 30 day trend seen between Aug. 17 and Sept. 16 when the new school year began at Kansas State University. During that 30 day period, the county saw exactly 1,200 new infections reported.
According to city and local health officials, the medical community is also seeing more severe cases of COVID-19 than have been experienced to this point, following a rapid increase in community spread the past two weeks. One local health official tells KMAN the community is bracing for the “third wave of infections, while we haven’t even yet completed the first wave.”
On Nov. 5, the health department tested 525 people at their free weekly testing site at Cico Park, with 132 positive test results (25 percent positive rate). There were 630 people tested Thursday, with results not expected back until early next week.
Age Group # of + Cases Week of 11/09-11/13
0-9 years 9
10-17 years 22
18-24 years 218
25-34 years 61
35-44 years 31
45-54 years 24
55-64 years 26
65-74 years 12
75-84 years 4
85+ years 3
“It is extremely important to enjoy the holidays in a safe manner and take steps to keep our friends and family safe,” said Mayor Usha Reddi. “We want our community, our schools, and our businesses to stay open, but we all must do our part in order for that to happen. As cold weather sets in, I urge everyone to take measures to reduce the spread of the virus. It is more important than ever to wear a face mask, socially distance, avoid crowds and wash hands frequently. Face masks are not a cure to COVID, but they have been proven to be the best possible mitigation step to reduce the spread of the virus.”
Wearing masks consistently and correctly is a key safety measure, CDC recommends community use of masks, specifically non-valved multi-layer cloth masks, to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2.