Down to six active cases, Riley County softens limitations on business reopenings

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(Illustration by Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

Riley County reported three new positive case of COVID-19 since Monday, bringing the local count to 64.

The two new positives reported on Tuesday are presenting in a 23-year-old and 72-year-old female who are not related. On Wednesday, the health department reported another new positive in a 52-year-old male. Currently, there are no hospitalizations associated with COVID-19 in Riley County residents.

Active cases are down to the single digits this week and 57 people are considered recovered. Riley County has documented one fatality related to COVID-19.

“We are still not out of the woods just yet,” local health officer Julie Gibbs said.

Starting on Wednesday, all businesses in Riley County were permitted to reopen — barring event spaces that seat more than 2,000. Gatherings are still limited to 50 people. Also, restaurant and bars must close to the public at midnight.

“The intent is to allow businesses to reopen, but in a measured way that balances public safety with economic vitality,” emergency medical services director and member of the emergency operations center command staff David Adams said in an emailed statement.

These rules — established by Local Order No. 10 — will stay in effect for at least 14 days.

Assistant director of the Riley County Police Department Kurt Moldrup said he’s glad the power to make the decisions about reopening has returned to the local level. Local leaders, he said, know what’s right for their communities.

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.

Additionally, Andrew Adams, emergency preparedness coordinator for public health, said COVID-19 won’t just go away. Community spread is still evident in the area.

“We weren’t expecting things to just stay steady or go away,” Adams said.

As testing continues to become more widespread, the number of positives might increase, Adams said. The important metric is the percent of positives in all tests given. For the last month or so, Adams said, the percent of positives in all tests has generally decreased.

Individuals with symptoms are encouraged to call the screening line at 785-323-6400. The screening line is 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.

There are no more regularly scheduled live health briefings, but Gibbs said the emergency operations center command staff will continue to monitor the situation locally and across the state.

New information and local COVID-19 data will be made available regularly, Vivienne Uccello, lead public information officer for the Riley County COVID-19 response, said.

“We’re still here, we’re still plugging away doing the public health work,” Adams said.

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Kaylie Mclaughlin
My name is Kaylie McLaughlin and I'm the Editor in Chief of the Collegian. I grew up just outside of Kansas City in Shawnee, Kansas. I’m a junior 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. I am fueled by a lot of coffee and I spend my (sparse) free time watching stand-up comedy.