By Adam Strunk
The number of active COVID-19 cases increased for the fourth straight week in Harvey County, as did the size of the increase.
The health department currently classifies 82 county residents as having COVID-19. That’s a jump of 30 from the week prior.
The county reported 84 new cases in the week, an average of 12 a day. Of the 84 new cases, 72 of them, or 86%, involved the unvaccinated part of the county population.
In total, 273 out of 317 county cases since May, or 86%, involve those who are not fully vaccinated.
The county also stated that it experienced a cluster infection at the Wendy’s restaurant in Newton.
“The cluster includes five employees that have tested positive,” Harvey County Director of Communications Kyle McCaskey said. “Close contacts of the individuals have been notified. This restaurant has operated as drive-through only, and with the limited interaction with customers, customers would not need to quarantine.”
Hospitalizations of residents did decrease this week from seven to five.
The county increased the death count of the disease to 74 residents.
However, the deaths predate at least Aug. 2.
“There were no new deaths confirmed this past week,” McCaskey said. “The increase is due to updating data with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Office of Vital Statistics. The most recent death we’ve reported was included in the Aug. 2 weekly report.”
Hospitalization rates dropped from seven to five residents.
According to the latest Kansas Hospital Association report, 144 hospital beds were occupied in south central Kansas by suspected COVID-19 cases, including 59 ICU beds. There are 43 ICU beds remaining open in the region.
On the vaccination front, approximately 335 county residents received their first vaccine shot this week, according to health department numbers.
In total, 50.7% of Harvey County’s total population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, on par with the state average of 50.5%. As for the eligible population, Harvey County is sitting at 59.9% receiving at least one dose, good for sixth in the state.
Additionally, 45.1% of the county population is fully vaccinated, 1.6% better than the state average; 53.2% of eligible residents are completely vaccinated.
Nationwide, 51.3% of Americans as a whole have been fully vaccinated, and 72% of adults have received at least one shot.