Four additional Riley County residents have died after testing positive for the coronavirus, the Riley County Health Department reported Wednesday.
Three of the people were fully vaccinated and lived at Via Christi Village and one was unvaccinated, said county spokeswoman Alice Massimi.
A 98-year-old vaccinated woman tested positive on July 19 at Via Christi Village and died Monday.
A 92-year-old vaccinated woman tested positive July 15 at the retirement community and died Sunday.
A 75-year-old vaccinated man tested positive July 12 at Via Christi Village and died Saturday.
An 89-year-old unvaccinated woman tested positive Jan. 27 and died June 1; officials said COVID was a contributing factor.
Two of the people died at Ascension Via Christi Hospital and one died at Via Christi Village, Massimi said. She said she couldn’t comment on where the unvaccinated person died.
Riley County has reported a total of 49 coronavirus-related deaths, as of Wednesday. Massimi said the three Via Christi Village deaths are the first ones classified as vaccine breakthrough deaths.
“It is important to note that while we did have individuals who were fully vaccinated pass away this past week, they are exceptions,” said Julie Gibbs, director of the Riley County Health Department. “The majority of vaccine breakthrough cases have mild symptoms, and have not needed to be hospitalized. The deaths underscore the importance of those who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated. It is the unvaccinated who are putting our vulnerable population at risk.”
Earlier this month, Via Christi Village staff members confirmed new coronavirus cases at the Manhattan assisted living facility at 2800 Willow Grove Road.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported Wednesday that Via Christi Village had 16 cases within the last 14 days. Via Christi Village has around 120 residents.
Officials from the retirement community weren’t immediately available for comment.
Increase in cases
Riley County recorded 146 new coronavirus cases since last Wednesday. That was up from the July 21 update when the county recorded 64 new cases.
The county’s coronavirus total Wednesday was 7,038. Of those, 148 were active and 6,841 had recovered, as of Wednesday. An additional 102 people recovered from the virus since last week, Massimi said.
There were 11 patients, including two fully vaccinated people, in Ascension Via Christi Hospital’s care Wednesday, Massimi said. Five unvaccinated patients were in the intensive care unit Wednesday.
Riley County added nine new variants of concern in one week for 70 total. Fifty-six of the 70 cases reported were the delta variant (first detected in India), 11 were the alpha variant (first detected in the United Kingdom), two were the gamma variant (first detected in Japan and Brazil) and one was the epsilon variant, first detected in California.
The county’s rate of positive tests declined by 0.3 percentage points. From July 11-17, the county recorded a 9% rate. From July 18-24, the rate was 8.7%. The two-week average was 8.83%, Massimi said.
In total, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) said 33,341 people or 44.8% of residents in Riley County have received one dose of the vaccine, as of Wednesday. KDHE said 30,149 people or 40.5% of residents were fully vaccinated Wednesday. The U.S. Census Bureau said Riley County’s population in 2019 was 74,232.
Kansas reported 2,177 new cases, 76 hospitalizations and four deaths since Monday, according to KDHE. The state recorded a total of 330,932 cases, 11,617 hospitalizations and 5,247 deaths since the pandemic started.
Geary County confirmed 29 new coronavirus cases since Monday for 3,927 total, as of Wednesday. Pottawatomie County reported 24 new COVID cases since Monday for 2,149 total Wednesday.
Additionally, Geary County recorded a total of 104 variant cases Wednesday. Pottawatomie County had a total of 21 variant cases Wednesday.
The state did not report any area outbreaks Wednesday.