Health officials concerned about spread of Delta variant

Updated: Sep 1, 2021

Update: The Linn County Health Department reported that the number of active COVID-19 cases was down as of Friday, July 16. There are currently 14 active cases, nine of which are from the La Cygne area. Officials are also reporting that one of the cases tested had the Delta variant.

PLEASANTON – Reports that several communities in southwestern Missouri have become hot spots for the Delta variant of COVID-19 virus have local health officials concerned. And with health departments in Crawford and Cherokee counties in southeast Kansas actively warning of the threat to people there, that concern has been heightened.

Linn County has shown an uptick in active cases over the past couple of weeks, from two cases on June 28 to 20 cases as of July 9. Ten of the cases were in Mound City, five in Pleasanton, four in Linn Valley and one in La Cygne.

Of those cases, six were children up to 17 years old, seven cases were 18 to 34, and seven cases were 35 to 64. There were no cases in the 65 and older age group, and none of the cases reported required hospitalization.

According to Tisha Coleman, Linn County Health Department director, none of the cases tested indicated they involved the Delta variant. However, with the Delta variant found in most of the tests in southwestern Missouri and in surrounding Kansas counties, she said it was only a matter of time before it was detected in Linn County.

According to several reports from Springfield, Mo., including stories in the Kansas City Star, hospitals there are short on room and equipment to treat the influx of patients with COVID. Almost all of those admitted have not been vaccinated.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) reports show that about 3,100 or nearly 37 percent of Linn County residents age 12 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccination. Nearly 2,800 Linn County residents or about 33 percent have a completed vaccine series.

Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use two injections. The Johnson and Johnson/Janssen vaccine uses only one dose.

Statewide, about 44.7 percent of Kansans have received at least one dose, and 39.4 percent have completed the vaccine series, according to the KDHE.

Coleman said it was important for residents 12 and older to get the vaccination to help protect against serious symptoms and hospitalization as a result of the virus.

The health department director said that many people were on the fence about getting vaccinated, undecided about the benefits of the vaccine compared to perceived risks.

“There’s a lot of misinformation,” she said. While she acknowledged that some people likely will not get vaccinated, there are many who are thinking about it and just won’t take that step.

“We’re glad to talk to them on the phone,” she said, adding that the health center wants people to have accurate information about the vaccines.

Coleman said the health center has a good supply of both the Moderna series and Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine, a single.

Both of those are currently approved for adults 18 and older.

Area medical clinics and pharmacies have vaccines as well. And many of them have the Pfizer vaccine, which is now approved for children age 12 and older.

The health center conducts a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday. However, if someone cannot come during that time, the center can schedule an appointment.

Despite many people being weary of pandemic precaution, Coleman tells people to be vigilant but not alarmed. That means getting vaccinated, practicing social distancing, and following Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines for using masks if you are not vaccinated or when in close contact with others,

The address of the center is 11240 Tucker Rd. in Pleasanton, and the phone number is 913-352-6640.

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