(RILEY COUNTY, KS – September 14, 2020) Two COVID19-positive patients associated with the outbreak at Homestead Assisted Living in Manhattan, died over the weekend. Of the two most recent deaths, one patient was being cared for at Ascension Via Christi hospital in Manhattan and the second patient was being cared for at Stormont Vail in Topeka. A total of eight COVID19-positive Riley County residents have died since the pandemic began.
“All of our lives have been changed by this disease,” said Local Health Officer Julie Gibbs. “Losing loved ones, and sometimes not being able to visit them in their final moments, is truly heartbreaking. I am so sorry for all of the loss people have experienced. We will continue to work to keep our community safe and healthy, and we need your help to do that. Please stay home if you are sick, share information with contact tracing staff if they call, and follow safety guidelines from the CDC.”
Riley County has 43 new positive cases and no additional recoveries since Friday’s report. Case counts are preliminary and subject to change with further verification. Information from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, via the EpiTrax system, has been delayed and will be reported as soon as it is available.
Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan is caring for 1 positive patient at this time. The patient has symptoms severe enough to require hospitalization.
EOC Command Staff were present to observe several large events in Riley County over the weekend, including the K-State football game. Feedback from command staff indicates that safety plans for each event were well-executed.
“Event staff communicated effectively and enforced requirements at the large events,” said Riley County Emergency Medical Services Director David Adams, who was on duty at the K-State football game. “The people in attendance were generally observed to be in compliance with safety regulations.”
The only complaints sent to the Riley County Health Department related to the student section of the Bill Snyder Family stadium, which on-camera appeared to be overcrowded. EOC staff inspected the student section during the game, and found at least two empty rows between each row of students. The seating arrangement was consistent with the 25% capacity requirement for each section.
“At the K-State football game, there was no tailgating, masks were worn throughout the stadium, and event staff did everything they were supposed to do to uphold the requirements for their special event permit,” said Adams.
Local Health Order No. 18 requires a special event permit for any public or private event with more than 50 people. Permits are required for both indoor and outdoor events, and strict safety measures must be in place for an event to be approved.
Businesses under normal operations must follow social distancing and/or barrier installation and other requirements in Order 18 and are exempt from the special event permit requirement, unless they plan to host a special event.
To apply for a special event permit, please submit the online form at least 14 days in advance of the event. Find a link to the form on the Riley County Coronavirus website at rileycountyks.gov/coronavirus.
Test results for the free testing events held last week in Riley County are starting to come in. Contact tracing staff are making phone calls to participants as soon as information is available. Roughly 100 of the 567 test results have been received. Only 1 patient out of that first group of 100 results has been positive.
Anyone who has symptoms, is a close contact of a positive patient, or would like information about how to get tested should contact their health care provider or call the Riley County Screening Line at 785-323-6400. The Screening Line is staffed by nurses and is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
For more information about Riley County’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, visit the Riley County website at www.rileycountyks.gov/coronavirus, follow RCHD on Facebook at /Rileycountyhealthdepartment/ and Twitter @RileyCoHealth.