COVID-19 cases on rise in Osage County; Delta variant appears to drive new surge in U.S. – Osage County Online | Osage County News

COVID-19 cases on rise in Osage County; Delta variant appears to drive new surge in U.S.

Wear a mask, social distance, get vaccinated

LYNDON, Kan. – The Osage County Health Department reported yesterday the number of COVID-19 cases has been increasing steadily in the county during July.

On July 28, 2021, OCHD reported there were 38 active positive cases in Osage County, and five of those cases were found to be of the Delta variant through sequencing testing. A health department social media post reported that up to 80 percent of new positive cases in the Midwest are thought to be caused by the Delta variant. On July 26, the health department reported 42 active cases in the county, but none were known to be of the Delta variant, which requires special testing to detect.

OCHD has warned of an increase of cases since the first week of July, with 15 active cases reported July 15, and 26 active cases reported July 20. Kansas Department of Health and Environment data shows Osage County gained 68 positive cases from July 2 to July 27.

With the increased presence of the Delta variant in Kansas, free COVID-19 vaccine and testing clinics are scheduled to continue across the state. The CDC has issued new mask advisories, once again recommending people indoors wear masks, especially unvaccinated people. CDC reports the Delta variant is twice as infectious as the B.117 variant, which was previously a dominant strain.

KDHE reports the new variant appears to be spreading most quickly in communities that have the lowest vaccination rates. KDHE said nearly all patients who died of COVID-19 in the last few weeks were unvaccinated.

“It’s essential for Kansans to stay safe by continuing to social distance, wear masks while around unvaccinated people, and get tested if you have symptoms or have possibly been exposed to someone with COVID-19,” a KDHE advisory said.

OCHD recommended that everyone observe safety practices including hand washing, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings, getting vaccinated, and wearing a mask when unable to social distance.

OCHD notes that everyone of age is encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and although there are breakthrough cases, mostly due to new variants, vaccinated people who become ill with COVID-19 report less severe symptoms.

OCHD offers Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, but does not have Pfizer, which is the only one currently available for children 12-17 years old. To make an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, call the Osage County Health Department at 785-828-3117.

One year ago today, the OCHD announced the temporary closure of the Osage County Senior Center due to it being considered as a possible cluster site for COVID-19, with three cases associated with attendance at the center. During the month of July 2020, Osage County gained 24 cases, going from 15 to 39 known cases since the pandemic began. At the time, Osage County was in its fourth week of “reopening” after the initial pandemic had surged throughout the U.S. since early in 2020.

See related story: Osage County Senior Center closed due to possible COVID-19 cluster

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