Counties across the state have begun vaccinating people 65 and older as a part of the expansion of people who can receive the coronavirus vaccine.

The county started the second phase of vaccinations Thursday and aimed to vaccinate 700 people, said Julie Gibbs, director of the Riley County Health Department (RCHD). The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has signaled the go-ahead to all Kansas counties to start Phase 2, which included the following:

  • Adults aged 65 and older
  • First responders
  • K-12 teachers and staff
  • The staff of licensed child care, preschools, after-school care and child care licensing
  • The staff of emergency shelter and domestic violence homes, adult group care homes, residential treatment centers and adult and child protective services

According to their websites, Geary and Pottawatomie counties planned to start this phase once they receive additional vaccines from the state.

On Wednesday, RCHD notified a limited number of people who fell under Phase 2 and signed up on the health department’s vaccination list with information and forms to fill out before vaccine distribution.

People can still sign up to get on the vaccination list online or by calling the health department at 785-565-6560.

In Riley County, all licensed healthcare professionals have had the opportunity to get vaccinated, according to RCHD. Those in Phase 1 who have not received their first dose are still eligible and should email RCHD at

From Jan. 10-16, the county recorded a 9.9% rate of positive tests, a decrease of 2.8 percentage points from the week prior; the rate for Jan. 3-9 was 12.7%. The two-week average was 12.58%.

Healthcare provider WellHealth has extended free coronavirus testing in Manhattan every day — except Sundays and holidays — until March 20, officials said Wednesday. In addition, RCHD offers rapid coronavirus tests to those who have a referral from their doctor’s office; people must make an appointment with RCHD to get a rapid test, officials said.