In the latest COVID-19 update for Riley County, released on Feb. 9, the health department announced one new death attributed to COVID-19. A 74-year-old, unvaccinated male passed away on Feb. 9 at Ascension Via Christi. This death brings the county total to 73 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
Since the last report on Feb. 3, the health department identified 469 new cases and an additional 713 recoveries, indicating a decrease in numbers since the previous report.
Local Health Officer Julie Gibbs said she is grateful the numbers are decreasing despite the increased transmission rate.
“As time moves on, COVID will hopefully become an illness that does not impact the medical community or disrupt society and daily life,” Gibbs said in the weekly report.
Nine COVID-19 positive patients are being cared for at Ascension Via Christi — three in the Intensive Care Unit and two on ventilators.
There are 394 active cases of COVID-19 in the county. However, despite the decrease in both active and new cases, the two-week positivity rate increased from 17.84 percent to 22.34 percent in the past week.
The positivity rate for the week of Jan. 30-Feb. 5 was 24.53 percent. On-campus for the same time frame, the positivity rate was 21.11 percent.
Riley County Health Department also announced the Kansas Department of Health and Environment testing site at 3019 Anderson Avenue in the Plaza West Shopping Center is open for walk-ins Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. They also reported KDHE lab result turnaround has decreased from 5-7 days to 24-48 hours.
Gibbs said there is a decreased demand for testing as case numbers decline. In response, beginning Feb. 14, the health department will only offer testing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon by appointment. People can contact the testing hotline at (785) 323-6400 to schedule an appointment.
Gibbs said decreasing the number of operational hours devoted to COVID-19 allows the health department to prioritize other public health needs such as family planning, STI testing, immunizations and other essential services meant to improve quality of life in the community.
The health department encourages all eligible individuals to get a COVID-19 vaccination.