Riley County Health Department Director Julie Gibbs told a press conference in Manhattan on Wednesday that there were 108 active COVID-19 cases in the county, 61 from variants including 47 from the Delta variant. Nine people were hospitalized at Via Christi Hospital including one person in the intensive care unit. Of 33 breakthrough cases identified so far more than half have been Delta variants.
A key message was for people to get vaccinated, and it was noted that the vaccine is readily available. Most of those hospitalized had not been vaccinated. When asked why people have done so it was noted that some are concerned about the safety of the vaccine and others about side effects. Educational campaigns will help address those issues.
To schedule a COVID vaccine call 785-565-6560 or to get tested 785-323-6400 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. When asked about the feasibility of getting Riley County vaccinated at a 70% rate Gibbs estimated the county is at about 50% of those eligible for vaccinations that have at least received the first dose. More remote clinics are being done and surveys are asking why people choose not to get vaccinated. The effort will continue to get to 70%.
Contact tracing and investigations into cases continue in Riley County. Gibbs noted that while nothing is in place now and they do not want to do it the possibility of returning to a face mask requirement is not off the table. No orders will be put out in the near future.
Saliva testing is being offered at the Manhattan Regional Airport Monday, Wednesday and Friday's from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Testing and vaccinations are also being offered at the Redbud Estates, 2500 Farm Bureau Road in Manhattan on Friday from 4-7 p.m.
Businesses with questions are encouraged to call the Riley County Health Department.