A local doctor is advocating for more coronavirus testing of asymptomatic people to help reduce the spread.

Ryan Knopp of Stonecreek Family Physicians estimated in recent weeks that his office has tested about 60-70% of patients with coronavirus symptoms and 30-40% of those who are asymptomatic. Prior to the last few weeks, Knopp estimated it was a 90%/10% split, testing mostly symptomatic patients.

“If you want to get ahead of the ripple effect and mitigate the spread of the virus in the community, it is often very helpful to test asymptomatic, close contacts,” he said.

Knopp made his point Thursday afternoon during the Manhattan Area Recovery Task Force virtual meeting. The task force is an advisory committee that provides resources for businesses.

In Riley County, the positive rate for the last two weeks was 9.28%, as of Monday, officials said. The weekly rate went from 4.9% from Aug. 2 to 8 to 11.7% last week. Authorities on Friday announced 136 new cases, by far the largest increase since the pandemic began.

“I think everybody on this call knows that we’ve definitely had a trend of worse over the last few weeks, and particularly the last four or five days,” Knopp said.

Knopp said the community has an adequate amount of testing materials to test people with or without symptoms.

“So far, we’re doing fine on testing capacity,” he said.

Knopp said some patients he’s treated have had lingering side effects long after testing positive for the virus, such as loss of taste or smell, asthma-like symptoms, abnormal lung function, daily headaches and fatigue.

In addition, officials discussed the platform dining going into Downtown Manhattan, which was approved by the Manhattan City Commission earlier this month. Aggieville Business Association director Dennis Cook said Aggieville wants to do something like this to spread out customers.

“So we’re looking at something else, but realizing that maybe we need to think out of the box a little bit more other than just something very basic,” Cook said.

Cook said Aggieville is going to continue to explore options with safety and more security in mind.

“We’re looking at different ideas,” Cook said.