As COVID-19 cases surpass 1,000, health officer urges compliance with restrictions

(Infographic by Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)

The Riley County Health Department reported 123 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the local total to 1,045.

Since Aug. 17 — the first day of classes at Kansas State — the county has added more than 550 new cases of COVID-19.

As far as cases go on Kansas State’s campus, Lafene Health Center is reporting a positivity rate of 26.40 percent for the previous week.

The county has also identified another COVID-19 outbreak associated with K-State with the addition of six cases from the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Of the 11 outbreaks in the county, 10 are related to K-State students. The current outbreaks in the county are:

  • Alpha Delta Pi with six cases
  • Alpha Xi Delta with six cases
  • Chi Omega with five cases
  • Delta Sigma Phi with 19 cases
  • Kappa Delta with seven cases
  • Kappa Kappa Gamma with six cases
  • K-State Football with 10 cases
  • Phi Delta Theta with 21 cases
  • Pi Beta Phi with five with
  • Sigma Alpha Epsilon with six cases
  • USD 384 School District Office with seven cases

“Have faith that we will get through this,” local health officer Julie Gibbs said. “We are all ready to get back to life as we once knew it so let’s keep practicing those methods we know are effective and we will get there.”

The majority of new cases have been reported in the 18 to 24-year-old age range which does usually indicate a high volume of mild cases, Gibbs said, but it is possible for young people to suffer from severe complications. It is also possible for people in that age range to infect higher-risk individuals unknowingly.

Additionally, 447 of those who previously tested positive are considered recovered, leaving 592 active cases in the county. Riley County has documented six COVID-19-related deaths. The most recent death was announced on Wednesday after a 91-year-old male resident of Homestead of Manhattan Assisted Living Facility passed away at Stormont Vail hospital in Topeka.

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

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 5 p.m. People with non-emergent questions about COVID-19 in Riley County should send an email to

To get tested for COVID-19 at Lafene Health Center, call your primary care provider or the health center to discuss whether you qualify for a test. Appointments may be necessary.

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.