Riley County has 59 positive cases of COVID-19, reports first death

(Illustration by Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

On Wednesday, Riley County reported one new positive case of COVID-19, bringing the total number of known cases to 59. There are 12 active cases, and 46 individuals are considered to be recovered.

The newest individual with COVID-19 is a 30-year-old woman who is closely associated with an outbreak in another county, local health officer Julie Gibbs said.

Riley County reported its first COVID-19 related death on Tuesday. The man who died was in his 30s and had an unspecified underlying condition. After being treated at Ascension Via Christi in Manhattan, he was transported to Wichita about a week before his death, Gibbs said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there are no Riley County residents hospitalized. Additionally, Bob Copple, Ascension Via Christi hospital president, said there are no COVID-19 cases currently being treated at the hospital.

Additionally, Via Christi has started allowing “essential-elective” or non-emegent care. Before these procedures, patients are brought into the hospital a few days early and are tested for the virus. This extra step is “just to make sure this is as safe as possible” for everyone, Copple said. The added benefit of this testing is that it can create more data about community spread, Copple said.

It’s still important to go to the hospital if you’re having a non-COVID-19 related emergency. Copple said some people have been avoiding going to the hospital when they have symptoms of a stroke or a heart attack.

Gibbs said she expects Gov. Laura Kelly to make an announcement about whether or not the state can move into the next phase of the reopening order by the end of this week.

During the next phase, which could begin as soon as May 18, fitness centers and salons can reopen. Gibbs said within Riley County, some of the more restrictive measures are likely to be lifted. The current local guidelines are more strict than the state order, especially as it pertains to childcare and restaurants.

Businesses with questions about best practices should call the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce at 785-776-8829 or email Additional resources for reopening local businesses are available at

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

To be tested in Riley County, individuals must present at least two symptoms of COVID-19. The complete list of known symptoms is available on the health department website.

Kaylie Mclaughlin
My name is Kaylie McLaughlin and I'm the managing editor and audience engagement manager of the Collegian. Previously, I've been the editor-in-chief and the news editor. In the past, I have also contributed to the Royal Purple Yearbook and KKSU-TV. Off-campus, you can find my bylines in the Wichita Eagle, the Shawnee Mission Post and KSNT News. I grew up just outside of Kansas City in Shawnee, Kansas. I’m a senior in digital journalism with a minor in French and a secondary focus in international and area studies. As a third-generation K-Stater, I bleed purple and my goal is to serve the Wildcat community with accurate coverage.