New local order expected to be more strict, health officer says, as new cases continue to climb

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(Illustration by Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

Local health officer Julie Gibbs said a new local order is expected to go in effect soon, but the details are not established yet. The current local order expires on Monday, July 6.

This past week has been an observation week to determine the success of the local order, and it hasn’t had a significant impact on lowering new case numbers, Gibbs said. With this in mind, the new order is likely to have stricter measures.

Since Wednesday, the Riley County Health Department has added 31 new cases, bringing the local total to 273 positives.

At this point, about 56 percent of all cases documented in the county fall in the 18 to 24 age range. Locally, there’s also been a rise in behavior that is considered “high-risk,” emergency preparedness coordinator for public health Andrew Adams said previously.

The message is the same as it has been through the whole pandemic, Adams said. People should avoid:

  • crowded spaces
  • closed spaces
  • close contact settings

Additionally, 122 of those who previously tested positive are considered to be recovered. There are 148 active cases in the county.

There are not any new outbreaks being monitored in Riley County by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. A potential outbreak in Emergency Medical Services employees hasn’t yielded any more positives.

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

There is one person hospitalized with severe symptoms and they are on a ventilator.

“They’ve been in the hospital for quite some time now — several weeks,” Gibbs said.

While there aren’t many severe infections in the county, Gibbs said there is still concern about hospital capacity, especially as new cases continue to rise. The only way to ensure the healthcare system doesn’t get overwhelmed, Gibbs said, is to prevent further spread of the virus.

“It’s out there in the community, continue to wear that mask when you’re out,” Gibbs said. “Take care of yourself when you’re out.”

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.

People who have symptoms of COVID-19 over the holiday weekend are instructed to call KStat West, as the health department will be closed for the Fourth of July.

In general, 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.

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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.