Updated: Dec 30, 2021
PLEASANTON – As reports of the likely spread of the new omicron variant hit the national news this week, Linn County health officials were seeing an uptick in cases of the familiar delta variant.
The number of new COVID-19 cases surged to nearly 50 for the first time in more than a month, according to a report released Wednesday, Dec. 1, by the Linn County Health Department.
After health department statistics showed new cases hovering between 10 to 20 a week since Oct. 20, the newest report revealed 46 new cases with 53 active cases.
The timing may have to do with more residents participating in more indoor activities such as holiday shopping, but it could also mean that family gatherings during the Thanksgiving holiday contributed to increased spread.
On Wednesday afternoon, Shawn Thomas, superintendent of Jayhawk USD 346, posted a message on the district’s website and Facebook page noting that the district was dealing with several cases of COVID-19.
“Unfortunately, USD 346 is again dealing with several cases of COVID-19 in our schools,” Thomas said in a statement. “We are again asking for your patience and cooperation as we try to stop the virus from spreading.
“Please keep your student home if they are ill. We will communicate any changes in activity schedules as soon as we have that information available.”
The last time the county recorded nearly 50 new cases was Oct. 13, when 47 new cases were reported with 79 active cases within the county. At times during September and October, there were more than 100 active cases reported during a week.
While no new deaths were listed in the Dec. 1 report, the five weeks before listed four deaths attributable to COVID-19 complications, bringing the total of deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 to 27 fatalities.
Three of those deaths were noted in the Nov. 10 report: one fatality each for La Cygne, Linn Valley and Parker. The death noted in the Oct. 27 report was a person from Blue Mound.
In the newest count, La Cygne and Pleasanton had the highest number of active cases with 11 each, followed by Mound City with eight. Parker with six cases, Centerville five, and Blue Mound and Mound City four each.
Since the pandemic began, Linn County has recorded nearly 1,800 cases with nearly 100 cases requiring hospitalization.
In the newest report, children up to 17 years old accounted for nearly a quarter of the active cases, with children up to 9 years old with six cases, and youths 10 to 17 accounting for five.
Young adults from 18 to 34 years old accounted for 12 cases, middle age adults from 35 to 54 years old totaled 16, and those 55 and older accounted for 14 cases.
Statewide, the number of cases was up, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). Nearly 4,500 new cases were reported between Monday morning and Wednesday morning this week, including 133 hospitalizations during that two-day period. Nineteen people died as a result of COVID-19 during that same period across the state.
The number of Linn County residents receiving vaccinations remained below state average, but has continued to slowly climb over the past six weeks. According to KDHE, 43.5 percent of all residents 5 years and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Linn County. Slightly more than 39 percent of residents 5 years and older have received a complete vaccine series.
A complete vaccine series includes two injections of the Pfizer vaccine, which has now been approved for children 5 and older; two injections of the Moderna vaccine, which has not been approved for children; or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which also has not been approved for children.
Statewide 56.8 percent of Kansans have received one dose and 49.2 percent have received a complete vaccination series.
On KDHE’s COVID ranking system on Wednesday, Linn County was rated 50th out of 105 counties for the relatively low number of cases. However, with a rating of 103rd in vaccinations and 93rd in testing, the county’s overall score was 100th.