A lot of recent COVID-19 cases are associated with ‘high-risk’ behavior, health officials say

(Illustration by Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

The Riley County Health Department reported nine new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the local case total to 242.

Additionally, 107 of those who previously tested positive are considered to be recovered. There are 132 active cases in the county. There is currently one Riley County resident hospitalized with COVID-19 related complications — they are on a ventilator.

Local health officer Julie Gibbs said this week has been an observation week to see if the current “restricted activities” order is enough. If cases continue to rise, Gibbs said it’s possible that a more strict order may be necessary.

“We all need to use every tool available and take proactive measures to help slow the spread,” Gibbs said. “We can and will get through this, but we have to do it together with everyone making the best choices for yourself and those around you.”

Andrew Adams, emergency preparedness coordinator for public health, said the rate of positivity in Riley County is still about 18 percent, and a lot of the newest cases continue to be in the 18-24 age group.

(Infographic by Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)
(Infographic by Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)

As businesses reopened, Gibbs said the health department expected an increase in positivity, but not to the degree that it has. At one point, Riley County would add nine cases in a week, Adams said. On Wednesday, nine cases were added before noon.

Locally, several new cases are connected to bars and events. Some of the newer cases also show an increase in “high-risk” behavior or are associated with “high-risk” locations, like going to parties and bars, Adams said.

“There will certainly be a time when we can come together and enjoy these events without hesitation, but unfortunately that time is not now,” Gibbs said.

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.

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. through the end of June. 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.

My name is Kaylie McLaughlin and I'm the ex-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.