Forty-four percent of new COVID-19 cases involved youth

By Adam Strunk

The best predictor of new COVID-19 cases remains vaccination status. The second best predictor is age.

Harvey County saw 152 new cases from Aug. 30-Sept. 7. Forty-four percent of those new cases involved residents aged 10-19 (45) or aged 0-9 (21), according to demographic data on the county website.

Active cases over the period were 146 as of Sept. 6. That’s a similar number of sick compared to the 149 on Aug. 31, though it’s unclear if the spike is beginning to level off or testing results and data entry by the state has simply been delayed by the Labor Day weekend. Only a few new cases were added on Tuesday, lower than county daily averages during the last few weeks.

In the most recent week of data, 116 out of the 149 new cases involved the unvaccinated. In total, 547 out of 655 or 83.5 percent of cases since May have involved those who haven’t been vaccinated.

Seven residents are currently hospitalized.

No deaths of residents have been added to county data.

The Harvey County Health Department brought back staff in August to deal with an expected school-related spike. While much of the county population is eligible for vaccines, those under the age of 12 are not.

Masking students, especially those unable to be protected by the vaccine, has been a topic of continual debate at local school board meetings.

Last week, the county confirmed two clusters in local school districts — one in Hesston and one in the Halstead district.

The most recent data from the Hesston school district published Sept. 3 listed 22 active cases and 52 COVID-19 related absences.

Halstead’s most recent data listed eight total cases with five at the high school and three at the middle school. The data does not list student absences related to quarantine.

The Newton school district currently lists 22 active cases with students and staff and 117 in quarantine.

In other COVID-19 related news, vaccination increases have begun to slow again.

Approximately 138 residents received their shots for the first time. Now 62.2 percent of eligible residents have received at least one shot. Some 52.7 percent of the total population has received one shot.

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