Children comprise nearly half of active COVID-19 cases in county

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

PLEASANTON – Nearly half of the 102 currently active COVID-19 cases in Linn County are children ages 17 and younger, according to the weekly report published Wednesday, Oct. 6, by the Linn County Health Department. Of that number, 33 are children 10 to 17 years old and 13 are children younger than 10.

For the third week in a row, the department has named all three school districts in the county as active clusters. And yet school officials are saying that cases are down in their districts, at least for now.

The number of new COVID-19 cases is down this week, and there were no deaths to report for the first time in three weeks. Nearly 1,600 Linn County residents have tested positive since the pandemic began in February 2020, although officials caution that many residents who likely have had the virus have forgone testing.

The number of new cases reported on Wednesday were 71, down from 87 last week. The number of active cases as of the reporting date was down two from 104 the prior week.

Three of the active cases required hospitalization, according to information received by the department. One of those patients was in an intensive care unit.

Pleasanton was listed as having 50 active cases, followed by La Cygne with 22. Mound City had 10 active cases; Prescott had nine; Parker, Centerville and Linn Valley had three each and Blue Mound had two.

The other age groups of active cases included 15 in the 18-to-34 age group, 31 in the 35-to-64 age group, and 10 were 65 and older. The number of active cases among women was 61 compared to 41 cases among men.

Despite the relatively high numbers of cases, Linn County residents are still not rushing to get vaccinated even though the Pfizer vaccine received full Federal Drug Administration approval for people 16 and older about six weeks ago.

About 40.6 percent of Linn County residents 12 and older have had a complete series of vaccinations, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). And 45 percent of Linn County residents 12 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

That puts the county lagging behind state rates of vaccinations: 48.1 percent having received a completed vaccine series and 51.9 percent having received one dose.

About 2.9 million Kansans have at least one vaccination.

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, Shawn Thomas, superintendent of Jayhawk USD 346, said that seven children were out of school with COVID-19. He said that number was down from some of the peaks in numbers experienced by the district earlier this school year.

But he also said it was difficult to find a real trend with the virus. When school officials seem to have virus under control, it can suddenly spread quickly through a group of students.

Pleasanton USD 344 Superintendent Travis Laver said on Tuesday that his district’s positive count was down to two cases. “If things go well, all students and staff should be clear by Friday.”

However, he agreed with Thomas’ observation that the virus count among children will balloon and then deflate, making it difficult to predict and control.

“It’s been unrelenting this year,” he said. But he added that more students have begun to wear masks as a preventative measure, even though the district’s policy is that masks are optional.

Although Prairie View USD 362 Superintendent Rex Bollinger could not be reached for comment earlier this week, the district posted that 12 students had confirmed positive tests and were not allowed in school.

Fifty-four students had been exposed to someone with the virus and were placed in quarantine or modified quarantine that required regular testing and wearing a mask in school. All but two of those students chose the modified quarantine.

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