Riley County reports 40 confirmed COVID-19 cases, three hospitalizations

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(Illustration by Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

There are 40 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Riley County, 17 of which are recovered, Julie Gibbs, director of the Riley County Health Department, said on Friday afternoon.

Gibbs said the new patients include a 26-year-old female and a 33-year old male in the same household who are related to a previous positive patient, and a 22-year-old female who came in contact with another positive patient. All three are isolating in their homes.

Three individuals are hospitalized at Ascension Via Christi, one of which is on a ventilator. One patient is from Riley County, but the other two are from different counties. Three people under investigations are also at the hospital.

Currently, there are 24 pending tests and 255 tests have come back negative. Gibbs said testing in Kansas increased based on new guidelines from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

With increasing testing, we can get a much better understanding of how the virus has spread in the community,” Gibbs said. “We know right now that we are not reaching everyone that should be tested. However, as we increase our testing we understand the number of positives will increase, but so will the number of negatives.”

Bob Copple, president of Ascension Via Christi, said in the past week, the hospital saw an increase in the number of patients admitted with significant health problems not related to COVID-19.

Copple said they believe these patients did not seek healthcare sooner because they feared COVID-19. He encouraged individuals to make contact with a physician or healthcare provider if they are having significant problems.

“People shouldn’t fear getting health care to the risk of their own health,” Copple said. “Our buildings are built differently than everybody else’s, we have very sophisticated error handling systems, we compartmentalize things differently, we have staff, we’ve been doing universal masking now for several weeks, taking all of these precautionary steps.”

Copple said all COVID-19 patients at the hospital are in a cohort and kept away from other patients.

Gibbs said she see’s the “new normal” looking a lot like what we’re seeing right now, such as new safeguards put in place to help essential businesses.

“I think it’s a great new normal to have to have those safeguards in place and also just what we’re doing as citizens with wearing masks and keeping that distance from another person, possibly, you know limiting handshakes from here on out,” Gibbs said.

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Hi there! I'm Julie Freijat. I'm the managing editor of the Collegian. In the past, I've served as an editor on the news and culture desks and worked closely with the multimedia staff. I love science and technology, hate poor movie dialogue and my favorite subreddit is r/truecrime.