Riley County health officials reported Wednesday that two additional Riley County residents have died after testing positive for COVID-19. A 68 year-old unvaccinated man tested positive January 7 and died on January 15 at Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan. A 98 year-old unvaccinated woman tested positive January 10 and died on January 14 at the hospital. Their passing brings the total number of deaths in the county to 70.
Riley County has identified 636 new COVID cases and 595 additional recoveries since the last report on January 12. There are currently 1,056 active cases in Riley County. The percent of positive test results rose slightly from 20.19% to 22.52% for the last two-week period. The 1,653 new cases identified since January 1 represent 15% of all the cases in Riley County since the start of the pandemic.
“We have not yet seen the peak of the Omicron surge, but we hope that will happen in the next week or two,” said Local Health Officer Julie Gibbs.
Ascension Via Christi Hospital is currently caring for 19 COVID-positive patients. Five patients, four of whom are unvaccinated, are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and four of the patients are on ventilators. Of the 14 additional patients on the medical floor, 8 are unvaccinated.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) drive-through testing site at Manhattan Town Center closed at noon Wednesday and will be closed Thursday, January 20 due to the extreme cold. The test site will move indoors to Pottorf Hall, located at 1710 Avery Avenue in CiCo Park, on Friday, January 21, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.so testing can continue during the winter weather. No appointments are necessary. Please follow signs and instructions at the testing site to ensure safety.
Be advised, results from the KDHE testing site are taking at least seven days to process due to the high volume of testing.
“Whether you are able to access testing or not, please stay home if you are sick,” said Gibbs. “Thankfully, most people who get Omicron have mild cases and feel better after several days. Anytime you are sick you should rest, drink plenty of fluids, and stay away from others as much as possible.”
Free COVID-19 home testing kits are now available from the federal government and will be shipped to US residents upon request. No credit card or ID is needed to request the tests. Please note, an address can be used only once and each address can receive four test kits. Register for the four free test kits with the USPS online at https://special.usps.com/testkits.
Yesterday, KDHE announced that state staff will end contact tracing efforts in February and authorized all Kansas school districts to end contact tracing procedures immediately, for at least 30 days. The volume of COVID-19 cases is more than staff can process. Several school districts across the state, including USD 383, announced closures last week due to the number of staff who are out sick.
“Contact tracing is not feasible at this time due to the high number of new cases,” said Gibbs. “Like many other counties in Kansas, Riley County has officially adopted the updated KDHE guidelines and recommendations to end contact tracing at schools. As the COVID response evolves, we will continue to do everything we can to provide service, support, and guidance to the community.”
Riley County COVID-19 Statistics for January 19, 2022
- Total positive cases in Riley County Residents: 11,008
- Total active: 1,056
- Total recovered: 9,882
- Total deaths: 70