Riley County prepares for Phase 1.5 of Restrictive Movement order

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(Illustration by Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

The Riley County Health Department released Local Health Order No. 8 today, creating Phase 1.5 of the Restricted Movement order.

The phase is modeled after Gov. Laura Kelly’s Phase 1.5 of Ad Astra: A Plan to Reopen Kansas, which takes effect May 18. In this phase, salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors, gyms and other “personal service businesses” are able to reopen. Bars, theaters, museums and other non-essential, leisure business will remain closed.

Local health officer Julie Gibbs said county offices will also reopen Monday.

Salons are not required to take clients temperatures, but Gibbs said each salon should follow guidelines set by the Kansas Board of Cosmetology. Clients must make an appointment and salons should not accept walk-ins.

In Riley County, restaurants are able to serve at full capacity, but must close by 10 p.m. The 10 p.m. closing time is to distinguish between a restaurant and a bar, Gibbs said.

In addition, childcare centers are able to operate normally. Gibbs said with more businesses open, more people will need childcare as they go back to work.

“We are excited to open more businesses, but if not done correctly, we can greatly increase risk of exposure, ” Gibbs said. “It’s important that we continue to do our part to keep ourselves safe and others safe as well.”

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

Riley County reported a new positive case on Friday, bringing the countywide total to 60 cases. Of these positive cases, 12 are active and 47 are considered recovered. Earlier this week, the county documented its first COVID-19 related death.

The newest person to test positive is a male of an unknown age. He is associated with an outbreak in a different county.

While Riley County has been successful at restricting movement during the past few months, Gibbs said the county now has a “B” social distancing grade.

“Continue to keep your distance from others,” Gibbs said. “Wear a mask when out. Wash your hands as often as you can.”

Bob Copple, Ascension Via Christi hospital president, expects the number of positive cases in the state to increase with the increased amount of testing, but the percentage should ideally go down. The risk, he said, remains the same.

“Our curve has been flat now going on for a couple weeks,”Copple said.

Currently, Copple said Via Christi has two persons under investigation. There have been no hospitalizations of known COVID-19 patients since Monday.

Via Christi resumed essential elective surgeries last week. Copple said pre-testing is done on patients coming in for procedures. Only one positive patient has been identified through this process.

“This is a little more inconvenient if you are a patient,” Copple said. “This has to be done three to four days before their surgery.”

Patients and others in their household have to home isolate until results are available.

Individuals with symptoms are encouraged to call the screening line at 785-323-6400. The screening line is only available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. People with non-emergent questions about COVID-19 in Riley County should send an email to rileycountycovid19@gmail.com.

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.

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My name is Bailey Britton and I am the managing editor for the Collegian. I grew up in Colby, Kansas. I am a sophomore studying journalism with minors in leadership studies and English. I value quality news coverage and believe that communication is a vital part of solving problems. When I have free time, I like to spend time with friends and family or be outdoors with a good book.