The 14th confirmed case of COVID-19 in Riley County is an Ogden man in his 50s, officials said Monday.
The man is self-isolating at home, said Julie Gibbs, Riley County Health Department director, during a virtual press conference via Zoom. Health department staffers are investigating to determine how he may have contracted the virus and if he had recently visited any public areas.
As of Monday, two Riley County people have recovered from the virus and there have been 87 negative tests. The county is waiting on results from 14 tests and 17 people are being monitored to see if symptoms develop. Most of the cases in the county are comprised of people ages 30 to 59.
Health officials announced Sunday that Riley County experienced its first case of community spread with the virus. They said a man in his 30s caught the virus here. The previous cases had all been travel related.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported Monday morning that there have been 845 positive cases in the state, which has resulted in 198 hospitalizations and 25 deaths. There have been more than 8,200 negative tests.
Gibbs said while there is some evidence of short-term immunity from the virus after someone has already contracted it, it is still being determined whether an individual can get COVID-19 again after they've recovered.
Officials emphasized that under the state stay-at-home order, effective until at least April 19, people should only leave their residence for essential needs and limit their contacts with others. Any non-essential travel should be avoided.
Usage of masks and gloves
Officials also advised on proper use of face masks and gloves.
Kurt Moldrup, assistant director of the Riley County Police Department, said people should be mindful of cross contamination if they choose to wear gloves.
“The best way to illustrate this is (with) painting,” he said. “If you wear gloves while painting and you touch the paint … you still get the paint on your gloves. And when you touch your phone, you touch your face, you touch your cart, you transfer what's on the surface of that glove to everything you’ve touched. Then when you put your phone to your face you have additional transfer — that's cross contamination and that adds to community spread.”
Gloves should be washed or replaced frequently, Moldrup said, but the key is to stay home and only leave for essential tasks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended people wear cloth face masks if they are in areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain, such as in a grocery store or pharmacy.
It said this can help asymptomatic people from unknowingly spreading the virus to others. The CDC and Riley County Health Department have shared online guides on how to make homemade masks.
Hands should be clean before putting the mask on and there should not be gaps between someone’s face and the mask. Avoid touching it when in use and replace it as soon as it gets damp. To remove the mask, only remove it by the ear loops and discard it in a closed bin.
Moldrup said the county emergency operations center is working with a local church to set up a collection site for homemade masks, so people can donate or pick some up.
Community resources for those in crisis situations
Melissa Mosher, victim advocate coordinator with RCPD, said tensions may rise when people are in close quarters together during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Should you find yourself a victim of crime during this time, there are services that are still open and available to assist you,” Mosher said. “We do not want victims of crime remaining silent.”
Some places may ask people to talk over the phone or via video. Resources include the Crisis Center's shelter (785-539-2785), Fort Riley’s Family Advocacy Program (785-307-1373) and SHARP (785-307-9338), K-State’s CARE office (785-532-6444) and Pawnee Mental Health’s Crisis Stabilization Center (785-587-4300).
Mosher also is available to inform people of options and community resources at 785-473-2390.
Mosher recommended that if tensions do rise, people should find a space in the residence or take some time outside to calm themselves.
If they think they might find themselves in a “critical situation,” Mosher said people should stay in contact with friends and family to establish a code word so someone knows to check on them or get assistance.
“It’s important that if you feel in danger or you feel that you are needing support that you either call us here at the Riley County Police Department for assistance or you can reach out to those emergency places like the Crisis Center who is open 24 hours a day and has an emergency hotline, as well as the Pawnee Mental Health Stabilization Center who is also open 24 hours a day.”