Riley County reports spike in new cases, largely from delayed results; promises fix on the way

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Riley County case count by age, showing this week and last week numbers. (Courtesy Riley Co. Health Department)

Riley County health experts say a large increase in positive coronavirus cases is largely blamed on delays in getting results, but plans are underway to fix the problem.

Wednesday’s report included 111 new positive cases and two additional recoveries since Monday’s report. Ascension Via Christi is monitoring three positive patients.

Local health officer Julie Gibbs says the electronic surveillance system EpiTrax has experienced delays in data collection, with the majority of new positives included in Wednesday’s report from up to two weeks ago. Recent problems have also led to software crashes and incomplete information.

In order to combat the delays, Gibbs says the health department will transition to a new system. She says they will also work with local providers to try and streamline the communication process and ensure that contact tracing can occur more quickly.

Additionally, the health department says Hylton Heights KinderCare is the site of the most recent COVID-19 outbreak where a staffer tested positive on Sept. 3 causing the facility to voluntary close. Since that time, six other close contacts have also tested positive and three tests are still pending. The facility remains closed.

Riley County now has 15 active outbreaks. The outbreak at Phi Delta Theta has expired.

Furthermore, during last week’s free testing, a total of 567 individuals were tested. Results are still cycling in, but so far 43 tests came back positive.

Gibbs says although over time there has been an increase in numbers, most people have been doing their part to stop the spread.

“We focus a lot on the fact that we have seen a huge increase in our numbers, so therefore people must not be doing things correctly. And I think everyone is so used to hearing those reminders to do the right thing, when in fact, most people have been. So I just want to say to keep up the good work, continue to share only valid information, and if you ever have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to call the health department,” she says.

In Riley County there has been a total of 1,501 confirmed positive cases. Of those, 773 are considered active and 720 are recovered. There has been a total of 8 deaths in Riley County.

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Brandon Peoples

KMAN News Director and host of In Focus. Contact Brandon at Brandon@1350KMAN.com

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