By Dewey Terrill
Riley County Health Officer Julie Gibbs said Wednesday that the Kansas Department of Health & Environment has declared two recent COVID-19 outbreaks in the area. "One in Aggieville and one with KSU football. We have been busy with contact tracing to ensure we minimize the potential spread of the virus. "
Gibbs noted that if you have been in contact with the Health Department, whether you have tested positive or are a contact of someone who has tested positive you should remain isolated in your home. "This means not going out of your home for any reason other than an emergency."
Andrew Adams, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the Riley County Health Department, explained in working with KDHE that they came to the conclusion that based on the investigation process and contact tracing to say that there were those two separate outbreaks. On the decision to declare K-State football an outbreak Adams noted that there have been some activities since people returned to Manhattan. "At first there were some people from out of state that ended up testing positive their first round, or they were from other places, whether in town or out of town that had tested positive initially as well as others who tested negative initially." Adams said after being in the community for an extended period of time and after various activities more spread was seen. "We've seen some spread of that disease. We've seen some more cases coming in from people who had previously tested negative. So that is a really good indicator that the disease is spreading and it's spreading through a specific group or a specific population. So that is the designation for the football side of things.
Adams said Aggieville is a general area but officials have tied back several cases. "Whether they mentioned being there, whether they've been employees of several different facilities, things like that, back to that district." Adams added through the process of investigation and followups they have identified 30 cases that can be linked to spending some time in Aggieville during the last couple of weeks.
The declaration of an outbreak in a specific group or area helps health officials tie together more information. Adams said being able to know that cases are connected to a specific outbreak allows more resources to be provided to those locations to try and slow down the spread in those areas. It also helps raise awareness. "Knowing where people have been, being sick helps to alert the other people in the community, and to make sure people are taking those precautions and maybe paying more attention and being more mindful to those precautions that we've been putting out since day one about when you're going out socially distancing, and hand hygiene, and staying home when you're sick and all those things."