Health department announces one new COVID-19-related death, 230 new cases

(Graphic by Julie Freijat | Collegian Media Group)

In the latest COVID-19 update released on Feb. 16, the Riley County Health Department announced one new death attributed to COVID-19. A 59-year-old, unvaccinated female passed away on Jan. 11 after testing positive on Jan. 5. This death brings the county to 74 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Since the previous report on Feb. 6, the health department identified 230 new cases and an additional 374 recoveries, indicating a further decrease in numbers since this past week’s report.

According to Director Julie Gibbs, the demand for testing has also decreased.

“The health department is receiving as few as 10 testing requests per day now,” Gibbs said in the weekly report. “We’re hopefully heading toward a better situation.”

Eight COVID-19 positive patients are being cared for at Ascension Via Christi, with none in the Intensive Care Unit.

There are 249 active cases of COVID-19 in the county, a decrease of 145 active cases since the previous report. The two-week positivity rate also decreased from 22.34 percent to 16.64 percent in the past week, along with the decreased case numbers.

The positivity rate for the week of Feb. 7-15 was 13.6 percent. On-campus for the same time frame, the positivity rate was 17.44 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 6 p.m. They are offering free testing at the location through the end of March. There is no need to schedule an appointment, and the lab result turnaround is 24-48 hours.

Gibbs said the department does not anticipate any further spikes in the next few weeks but cannot predict any further than that.

“We’re still encouraging people to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families from severe disease,” Gibbs said in the report.