• Journal Staff Report

Number of COVID cases on the rise again, county deemed 'high risk'

Updated: Jul 29

It’s back.

For those of us who have gotten accustomed to having concern about the pandemic largely forgotten, COVID-19 numbers are starting to go up again across the nation. And Linn County is no exception. Numbers of people who have tested positive for the virus have been on the increase here.

American Medical Response (AMR), the county’s ambulance service has been struggling to keep a full staff because as many as five employees at a time have been out with the virus.

Pleasanton city officials reported on Monday that a police officer and a public works employee had also been sidelined.

Because of the number of new cases in Linn County, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) rates the county at high risk for transmission. Since hospitalizations are also going up, the county is now rated moderate for hospitalizations.

Bourbon County has also been rated as high risk, while Miami and Anderson counties are rated at moderate risk. Bates County in Missouri is also listed as high risk.

In 2021, the county added dozens of new cases a week. The current number of positive tests is below that, however, there is concern that, because of home-test kits now available, the true number of infections is significantly higher than that.

In an interview with former Food and Drug Administration Director Scott Gottlieb on CBS Weekend News July 17, he said there is an undercount of Omicron cases. It is very possible that only one-tenth of the positive tests are being reported due to home testing.

Gottlieb says it is the BA.5 variant that is growing, it has the capacity to evade the immunity that we have acquired from vaccination and also prior infection.

The number of positive cases reported to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) come from health departments and medical clinics and facilities.

The number of The New York Times reported that over the last 14 days COVID-19 cases are up 15 percent and hospitalizations are up 20 percent in the United States. According to the CDC, in the last seven days the change in new admissions of confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations from Linn County is 40 percent.

KDHE publishes the number of positive COVID test every Wednesday. For the week ending July 13, there were 36 new cases of COVID reported in Linn County, with that number dipping to 29 new cases between July 13 and July 20.

Since April 1, 2022 the only other time the count was near that was the week ending June 8 which had 34.

In the two months of April and May, there were a total of 34 cases documented. In the month of June, there were 71 cases. In the first three weeks of July there have been 83 cases.

CDC guidelines for counties that have a high risk rating include:

Wear a mask indoors in public;

Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines;

Get tested if you have symptoms;

Additional precautions may be needed for people at high risk for severe illness.

While KDHE says about 55 percent of Linn County residents have had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, the number of residents who have completed a series of vaccination stands a about 41 percent, and that percentage has largely remained unchanged since early this year.

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