On Monday, Riley County reported its first new positive case of COVID-19 since Friday, bringing the countywide total to 58 cases. Just under 80 percent of the known positive cases of COVID-19 in the county are marked as recovered, leaving 12 active cases.
The most recent resident to test positive for COVID-19 is a 63-year-old male, and “is associated with an outbreak in another county,” a press release from the health department said.
Currently, there is one patient from Riley County receiving care at Ascension Via Christi for COVID-19 related complications. There is one additional positive patient receiving care at Via Christi from a different county, and there are two people waiting for test results who are hospitalized.
“Please continue to use those safeguards that we know so well,” local health officer Julie Gibbs said. “Thanks for your patience during this time; it will all be worth it in the end.”
If guidelines are not followed or people loosen up their social distancing too quickly, Gibbs said the state could find itself back in a stay-at-home order.
Andrew Adams, emergency preparedness coordinator for public health, said at this point, Riley County was expected to have recorded between 75 and 100 cases. Additionally, the rate of hospitalization was expected to be higher.
“Our social distancing methods have really paid off,” Gibbs said.
Since the county has started to reopen with its Restricted Movement Order, it is possible that there could be a spike in cases. Based on the incubation period of the virus, if there is a local spike, those new cases would start showing up on Wednesday, Gibbs said.
It is possible that if the spike is high or the rate of hospitalization increases that Riley County could go back to a more restricted order like a full stay-at-home order.
Regardless, during this time, wearing masks and limiting nonessential activity are recommended.
Kansas is able to move into the next phase of the reopening process no sooner than May 18. In the next phase, salons and barber shops, fitness centers, libraries and some bars will be able to open. Ultimately, progression to the next phase or backtracking will be up to the guidance of the state government.
More information should be available next week, Vivienne Uccello, lead public information officer for the Riley County COVID-19 response, said.
Individuals with symptoms are encouraged to call the screening line at 785-323-6400. Beginning this week, the screening line will only be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays. People with non-emergent questions about COVID-19 in Riley County should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To be tested in Riley County, individuals must present at least two symptoms of COVID-19, Uccello said. The complete list of known symptoms is available on the health department website.
Businesses with questions about best practices should call the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce at 785-776-8829 or email email@example.com. Additional resources for reopening local businesses are available at regionreimagined.org.