Riley County’s COVID rate is considered “high” after a 43% increase in cases, according to the state health department.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) on Wednesday reported 76 new cases in Riley County from June 11-17, up 23 or 43% from the previous week. This represents a rate of 102.4 cases per 100,000 people, putting Riley County in the high category, which is 100 or more cases per 100,000 people.

The levels are low (less than 10), moderate (10-49), substantial (50-99) and high (100 and more).

With 37 new cases, Geary County has a rate of 116.8 per 100,000, and with 45 cases, Pottawatomie County has a rate of 184.6 per 100,000. With nine new cases, Wabaunsee County has a 129.9 per 100,000 incident rate, placing all three counties in the high category.

“Although case numbers across Kansas are increasing, fortunately, the hospitalization rate has remained low,” Riley County Health Department Director Julie Gibbs said in a written statement. “I continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated if they are able. Vaccines have been proven effective at preventing severe disease and are incredibly fortunate to have vaccines available to help fight COVID-19.”

There have been 13,940 cases and 89 COVID-related deaths in Riley County. Ascension Via Christi was caring for two COVID-positive patients as of Wednesday.

Kid vaccines next week

Gibbs said the health department hopes some of the youngest Riley County children will be able to receive the COVID vaccine next week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday endorsed the use of the COVID-19 vaccine be given to children 6 months old or older. This added 6 month olds to 5 years olds to the eligible population.

Health officials said KDHE also is endorsing the recommendation and placing orders for vaccine vials this week.

“Vaccine vials for younger children are expected to ship quickly,” Gibbs said. “We have met with local pediatricians to discuss planning efforts and hope to begin vaccine administration next week.”

Vaccines and other immunizations are available at the Riley County health clinic from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and 8:30 to 11 a.m. Friday at 2030 Tecumseh Road.

The next update will be Wednesday.