Three additional Riley County residents have died since Friday after testing positive for the coronavirus, Riley County officials announced Wednesday.

An unvaccinated 72-year-old woman died Friday at Ascension Via Christi Hospital after testing positive July 16.

A vaccinated 90-year-old man died Sunday at St. Francis Hospital in Topeka after testing positive July 12.

An unvaccinated 49-year-old man died Monday at Stormont Vail in Topeka after testing positive July 13.

Their deaths bring the county’s total number of COVID-related deaths to 52 since the pandemic started in March 2020.

The 90-year-old man tested positive at Via Christi Village, making him the fourth resident at the retirement community to die recently. County officials announced last week that three vaccinated residents died on July 24, 25 and 26, respectively.

These cases are the county’s first ones classified as vaccine breakthrough deaths.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported last week that Via Christi Village had 16 cases within the last 14 days; the KDHE website didn’t list any additional cases this week. Via Christi Village has around 120 residents.

New cases

Riley County has identified 104 new COVID cases since last Wednesday. That is down 42 from the July 28 update when the county recorded 146 new cases.

As of Wednesday, the county has recorded 7,142 total cases since the start of the pandemic. Of those, 150 are active and 6,940 have recovered after an additional 99 recoveries since July 28.

Ascension Via Christi Hospital on Wednesday was caring for 10 COVID patients, including one who was fully vaccinated. Three patients were in the intensive care unit.

The county’s rate of positive tests declined by 0.5 percentage points. From July 18-24, the county recorded a 8.2% rate. From July 25-31, the rate was 7.7%. The two-week average was 7.94%.

Riley County spokeswoman Alice Massimi said the county will start providing updated numbers three times a week, starting this Friday. The data updates will happen on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Massimi said the change is happening because of an uptick in cases as well as a request from the Manhattan-Ogden school district and local doctors for more frequent information with school starting back this month.

Variants up

Riley County added 21 new variants of concern — all of them being the delta variant — in one week for a total of 91 cases. In the July 28 update, the county added nine new variants.

Seventy-seven of the total cases 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.

Health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated.

“With the hospital filling up and the number of positive cases continuing to increase in Riley County it is important that we all do our part,” Riley County Health Department Julie Gibbs said in a written statement.

The department will hold upcoming vaccines clinics from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Douglass Recreation Complex, 925 Yuma St., for the Everybody Counts event and from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday at First Congregational Church, 700 Poyntz Ave.

The department is also offering vaccines by appointments on Thursdays at its facility at 2030 Tecumseh Road. People can call 785-565-6560 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to schedule an appointment.

In total, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) said 33,819 people or 45.6% of residents in Riley County have received one dose of the vaccine, as of Wednesday. KDHE said 30,410 people or about 41% of residents were fully vaccinated Wednesday. The U.S. Census Bureau said Riley County’s population in 2019 was 74,232.

State, area roundup

Kansas reported 6,418 new cases, 190 hospitalizations and 39 deaths since last Wednesday, according to KDHE. The state recorded a total of 337,350 cases, 11,807 hospitalizations and 5,286 deaths since the pandemic started.

Geary County confirmed 38 new coronavirus cases since Wednesday for 3,965 total, as of Wednesday. Pottawatomie County reported 55 new COVID cases since last Wednesday for 2,204 total Wednesday.

Additionally, Geary County recorded a total of 118 variant cases as of Wednesday, up 14 from last week. Pottawatomie County had a total of 25 variant cases as of Wednesday, up 4 from last week.

The state did not report any area outbreaks Wednesday.