Active COVID-19 cases pass 50

By Adam Strunk

COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the country and Harvey County is no different.

The county averaged seven new cases a day, adding 49 cases over the last week and now has 52 active cases. That’s an increase of 17 over the week before and the third straight week of case increases. Harvey County started the month of July with two cases.

Nationally, new daily case counts jumped to a weekly average of 100,000, numbers not seen since the winter surge. According to Reuters, seven U.S. states with among the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates – Florida, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi – account for half of the country’s new cases and hospitalizations in the last week.

Kansas has averaged about 1,000 new cases in the last week, according to the Associated Press, with 34 new hospitalizations a day and eight deaths.

At blame for the surge is a more contagious Delta Variant, which has become the dominant strain throughout the country.

Harvey County currently has seven new hospitalizations this week with five remaining hospitalized.

The latest Kansas Hospital Association Data Summary showed 129 hospital beds occupied in the South Central Kansas region by those with or suspected of having COVID-19. Forty-two of those were in Intensive Care Unit Beds with 48 ICU beds available throughout the region.

Locally, of the 233 new cases since May, 201 or 86 percent have occurred within the non-vaccinated part of the county population.

This week, the county saw six of those vaccinated test positive for the disease.

Vaccination rates continued to rise in the county as it approaches two milestones.

Around 280 residents were vaccinated this week or .8 percent of the total county population.

That amounts to about 1 percent of those eligible to receive the vaccine. 58.7 percent of eligible residents have received at least one shot.

Eligible residents include those 12 and up. School districts across the county have included mask recommendations for students as the school year starts, but so far, none have mandated masks.

The county is on track to have half of its total population with at least one shot by next week and nearly 60 percent of its eligible population. The county ranks sixth out of 105 Kansas counties in the state’s various vaccination metrics.

In total, 44.5 percent of Harvey County residents are completely vaccinated. That’s ahead of the 42.9 percent total for Kansans.

The U.S. rate of residents fully vaccinated is 50.2 percent of the total population. Kansas ranks 31st in total vaccination rates.

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