Cases jump but so do vaccinations

By Adam Strunk

Active COVID-19 cases have risen to their highest number since late March in Harvey County.

The infection report released Monday showed the count saw 25 new cases and had 26 residents with active COVID-19 cases.

“The two types of transmission we’ve seen the most this past week are either unknown spread or through household contact,” Kyle McCaskey, director of communications for Harvey County, stated. Two residents, both males in their 30s and neither fully vaccinated, are currently hospitalized.

“The majority of new cases, including our most severe cases, continue to be among unvaccinated individuals,” McCaskey said.

From June 1-28, the county saw 30 new cases. In the four weeks since, there have been 61 new cases.

That tracks with increases seen statewide. Kansas added 4,598 cases during the week of July 19-July 26, more than a four-fold increase on the weekly total seen in the last week of June.

Of the 149 new cases, 132 or 89 percent of those recorded in the county since the beginning of May have occurred in those unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.

“The COVID-19 vaccines have proven their immense value to our communities,” McCaskey stated. “Breakthrough cases can happen, but the symptoms have been significantly less in severity, if any symptoms at all.”

On the vaccination front, the county saw positive numbers this week, with approximately 334 residents being vaccinated in the last seven days.

That amounts to .97 percent of the total population or 1.14 percent of the eligible population-those 12 and older.

That’s about four times the amount of people who chose to be vaccinated the week prior.

Renewed interest could be following increasing case numbers locally and nationwide. The increases have been tied to the more contagious Delta variant of the virus becoming the most common strain in many places.

In total, 57 percent of the eligible county population and 48 percent of the total population of the county are now vaccinated.

According to information compiled by the Mayo Clinic, 44.9 percent of the state population is vaccinated. Kansas ranks 31st in the country in fully vaccinated rates and 28th in the country in rates of those receiving at least one shot. The nation continues to shoot for the goal of herd immunity or between 70-75 percent of the population being vaccinated.

The county would also like to up its vaccination count, as well.

“I’d just encourage someone who is not vaccinated to keep an open mind,” McCaskey said. “Do your research, talk to your doctor. As we see cases spread in family units, if you are vaccinated, this is a good opportunity to have an open conversation with your family members about why getting vaccinated is important. Every vaccination helps.”

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