COVID-19 cases in single digits; vaccinations top 37 percent

By Adam Strunk

Active COVID-19 cases dropped into the single digits for the first time since September in Harvey County.

The Harvey County Health Department shared the data at its regular Tuesday press conference.

“We are in the single digits,” Health Department Director Lynnette Redington said. “It’s very nice to see in Harvey County.”

The county’s percent positive rate also dropped from 5.11% over two weeks to 3.2%.

“We’re remaining at a high number of individuals getting tests with a low number of positives,” Redington said.

Driving the decrease in cases is, in part, increasing vaccination numbers. According to the State of Kansas, 37.5% of Harvey County residents have had a vaccine, up 2.1% from the week prior. That increase is down from the week prior’s increase of 2.9% and the 3% increase the week before that.

“We’re surely trying to get to that 70 [percent],” Redington said. “We know we have younger population unable to get vaccinated. We’ll take a while to get to 70, obviously.”

At Harvey County’s current vaccination rate, it would take about 20 weeks—or five months—to hit 70%. That would place the date sometime in September, assuming people keep getting shots.

Still, even with its vaccinations slowing slightly, Harvey County edged out all its neighbors in vaccination rates per capita. McPherson County has a vaccination rate of 36.9%. The state, on average, now has more than one third of residents vaccinated at 34.2%.

Douglas County leads the state in vaccinations, with nearly half of all residents having received at least one vaccine (47.5%). Harvey County ranked 11th in the state in per capita vaccination.

Nationally, the U.S. set a record of providing 4 million doses April 10. It averaged 3 million vaccinations per day for the past week, and 36.8% of the U.S. population has received one vaccine. One fifth of the population is now completely vaccinated.

That pace could slow this week, as use of one of the three vaccines used in the U.S.—the Johnson & Johnson vaccine—was momentarily paused.

Six of the 6.8 million people who have received the vaccine in the U.S. reported blood clots following administration, and the pause allows for time to investigate if the clots are related to the shot.

Americans continue to get vaccinated as cases continue to rise in specific parts of the country, driven by more contagious variants of COVID-19. While cases have dropped in Harvey County, the weekly U.S. average of COVID-19 cases per day has increased by 6% over last week.

Kansas itself has seen 133 detected cases of variants, with the U.K. version (B117) making up more than 120 of those cases.

KDHE recently announced that it had detected a case of the Brazilian variant in Sedgwick County. Brazil saw deaths exceed 4,000 per day as the more contagious variant continues to hit the country.

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