COVID GRAPHIC

State health officials on Wednesday alerted Riley County officials of seven previously unreported coronavirus deaths in the county.

Riley County public information officer Alice Massimi confirmed the seven additional deaths, which occurred between Dec. 1, 2020, and Feb. 9, 2021. Officials said five were women and two were men. Three of them were between the ages of 75 and 84, and four were 85 years and older.

That brings the total number of coronavirus-related deaths in Riley County to 43.

Massimi said the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the office of vital statistics recently updated records and confirmed the deaths to the county.

Massimi gave two potential reasons for the delayed reporting: entities did not report the deaths to the health department or KDHE recently confirmed deaths related to coronavirus after research.

According to KDHE’s website, it has two ways to verify coronavirus deaths.

The first way is that local health departments or providers may report the deaths directly to KDHE and are marked for disease surveillance, and when KDHE receives a death certificate, officials verify the cause of death. The second is that KDHE reviews COVID-19 deaths in the death registration system and updates the totals with any missing deaths. In both processes, the death certificate is the final source of data. That sometimes leads to discrepancies, according to the website.

Massimi said Riley County doesn’t have detailed cause of death information on the seven deaths, but KDHE classified them as coronavirus related.

Riley County on Wednesday added 34 new virus cases in the past week. The county’s total Wednesday was 6,421, officials said. Of those, 42 were active and 6,336 had recovered Wednesday. An additional 13 people recovered in one week.

Officials said Ascension Via Christi hospital had no positive patients Wednesday.

Kansas added 645 new cases, eight deaths and 55 hospitalizations since Monday. KDHE said Kansas’ total Wednesday was 308,510 cases, 10,151 hospitalizations and 4,978 deaths.

According to KDHE, Geary County added 41 cases since Monday for a total of 3,355 Wednesday. Pottawatomie County’s cases went up by three for a total of 1,882.