Updated: Sep 17, 2021
PLEASANTON – The Linn County Health Department for a second week in a row has posted the most new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began 18 months ago. And while two more county residents in the 55- to 64-year-old range died of COVID-19 during the past week, many of the new cases are among school-age children.
The health department released its weekly report on Wednesday, Aug. 8, showing that 74 Linn County residents had tested positive for COVID-19 since the Aug. 1 report. That breaks the record of 70 new cases that was reported last week, and this makes the sixth consecutive week that more than 50 new cases have been reported.
At the same time, the number of Linn County residents 12 and older who have received a two-dose vaccination climbed only slightly over the past week to about 38.3 percent from 37.7 percent a week ago, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment website.
The number of Linn County residents 12 and older receiving a single vaccination dose is about 43.2 percent, up only slightly from last week. It would appear that the increase in two-dose vaccinations may be higher because of the Federal Drug Administration’s full approval of the Pfizer vaccine in late August.
Former patients infected with new variant
It should be noted that, in several cases, the new positive cases are likely the delta variant occurring in people who had an earlier variant of the virus.
“A lot of people who have been reinfected had COVID in December, January or February,” said Tisha Colemen, director of the county’s health department.
The danger of a second infection is that even in a relatively healthy person who contracts the virus there can be some lung scarring or other damages. A second round of COVID could endanger long-term health even more.
“That damage doesn’t just go away,” Coleman said,
She also said that people who have had an earlier variant may believe they have developed sufficient antibodies to avoid reinfection. But Coleman said that is wrong.
Getting the Pfizer or Moderna two-dose vaccines has proven to give people the best protection, Coleman said. The Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine has had more breakthrough cases where recipients suffer more serious effects if they get the virus.
Her department is already looking ahead to giving booster shots for people who received vaccinations earlier this year. Already the department has begun to give booster vaccinations to those who are immunocompromised.
Coleman also said that one of the greatest health risks the pandemic poses now is a problem in getting medical services for non-COVID patients. With many area hospitals near capacity, getting quick treatment for health conditions such as heart attacks, vehicle accident or anything else that requires hospitalization is becoming more difficult.
“Will they be treated in the hallway?” she said.
As an added complication for children, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has begun, Coleman added.
Pleasanton has most active cases
There were 87 active cases, according to the health department report. Pleasanton moved to the top of the active case list with 23, followed by La Cygne with 20 and Mound City with 19. Parker had 10 cases, Centerville had nine, Linn Valley reported three, Blue Mound had two, and Prescott had one case.
Forty-one of the active cases were in children 17 and younger, the 18-to-34 group had eight, the 35-to-64 bracket had 28 and the 65-and-older group had 10.
One of the deaths was of a Pleasanton resident. The other was from Linn Valley.