Riley County has 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19, ‘A’ grade on social distancing index

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(Illustration by Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

The Riley County Health Department reports 19 positive cases of COVID-19, up two from Tuesday. There are currently 15 pending tests, 106 negative tests and no hospitalizations.

“We continue to be one of the leaders in the state when it comes to our social distancing grade. Along with Greeley County, we have been assigned a grade ‘A’ when it comes to movement in our county,” local health official Julie Gibbs said. “Keep doing what you’re doing. Stay at home unless you need food or healthcare.”

Across the state, the average age of those infected is closer to 50 or 60, Gibbs said. Since the average age in Riley County is lower, the average age of those infected is also lower. She estimates it to be in around 30.

Gibbs said it is safe to say there is community spread in Riley County and recommends wearing face masks when in public.

There is potential for the Kansas stay-at-home order to be extended past April 19, Gibbs said, because the peak in cases hasn’t hit the state yet.

“It is predicted that this week and next week will be peaking at the end of April and early May,” Gibbs said.

However, Kurt Moldrup, Riley County Police Department interim assistant director, said Easter gatherings this weekend are not restricted, but it is important to consider alternatives to gathering to promote health and safety of the community.

“This year I think our celebration needs to look different than in the past,” Moldrup said. “We’re being encouraged to restrict our gathering together as a local body to worship.”

Moldrup also said police officers in Manhattan have seen several public gatherings, but these should be avoided.

“I don’t think anyone wants to intentionally cause these issues,” Moldrup said. “As the warmer weather increases, so does the desire to get together and get outside. I understand that. … Unfortunately we are in unique times.”

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My name is Bailey Britton and I am the former editor-in-chief of the Collegian. Previously, I have been the assistant news editor and the managing editor. I have also interned for the Manhattan Mercury and the Colby Free Press. I grew up in Colby, Kansas, and I am a junior in journalism and English. Through the Collegian, I aim to provide the K-State community with quality news coverage while we learn to serve our campus.