Downward trend in new positive COVID-19 cases forming, local health officer says

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(Illustration by Abigail Compton | Collegian Media Group)

Riley County currently has 337 confirmed positives — 141 of which are considered active cases and 193 which are considered recovered cases, local health officer Julie Gibbs said.

The patient who was in the hospital is now off the ventilator and testing negative for COVID-19.

Restaurants and bars are now required to screen their staff before each shift. Gibbs said that starting Monday, July 13, staff from the health department will be visiting businesses to check their screening logs and answer any questions.

“Our goal is to make sure everyone is safe and that includes employees and patrons,” Gibbs said.

After Riley County opted out of the statewide mask mandate, the Manhattan City Commission voted to pass their own mask order. The order was modeled after Governor Laura Kelly’s executive order.

Gibbs said she hopes that the new mask order as well as a combination of other preventative steps like practicing good hand hygiene and social distancing will help continue to keep new cases down.

“Hopefully all of that will be the perfect storm to make this go to the opposite side — that downhill trend, we’d like to see,” she said. “We’re starting to see — knock on wood — let’s continue that and I’m hoping that again this will be the perfect storm of things that will help us to get there.”

Assistant director of the Riley County Police Department Kurt Moldrup said they have observed a lot of individuals wearing masks, but have received some complaints. These complaints, Moldrup said, seem primarily to be made up of community members who have made assumptions about those they see not wearing a mask.

So I think that’s important for the community to remember there [are] various exemptions and situations that the ordinance has exempted people from wearing a mask and some of those are medical related, some are mental health related, and others with disabilities,” Moldrup said.

RCPD recently received a donation of about 1,000 surgical masks from the Mercy Community Health Foundation.

“We’re going to give [the masks] to officers so that it will further the goal of what we’re trying to do with with enforcement of educating — educating the public so when we we make contact with people that don’t have a mask or maybe don’t fully understand things, we can offer them a mask and the nice thing about this is it’s wrapped so they know they’re getting a clean, unused mask,” Moldrup 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. 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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Hi there! I'm Julie Freijat. I'm the copy chief and deputy managing editor of the Collegian. In the past, I've served as an editor on the news and culture desks and worked closely with the multimedia staff. I love science and technology, hate poor movie dialogue and my favorite subreddit is r/truecrime.