Local health officials shared more information about Aggieville’s coronavirus outbreak in a livestream Friday afternoon.
Julie Gibbs, Riley County Health Department director, said the Kansas Department of Health and the Environment said reported cases traced to Rock-a-Belly Deli and 7even 8ight 5ive in Aggieville are now classified as two outbreaks. The two bars are considered smaller outbreaks within the Aggieville outbreak, which had been announced Wednesday.
Andrew Adams, Riley County emergency preparedness coordinator, who also has taken the lead on the county’s contact tracing, said both had been identified through contact tracing. An outbreak is defined as five or more cases stemming from one place and time.
“When we go track back with the cases, where they’ve been, we saw those two places in particular come up a lot,” Adams said.
Both business had closed voluntarily prior to the announcement Friday.
With recent spikes in numbers, Gibbs said increased contact tracing will be necessary and said the county plans to hire more contact tracers to help with the workload.
The K-State football team and the Riley County EMS staff also have had outbreaks. Officials confirmed the EMS outbreak Saturday.
Bars and restaurants are allowed to operate at 75% capacity under current restrictions, but Gibbs said that can change at any time and that officials communicate daily to evaluate the situation. They look at several factors including percentage of positive tests, hospital capacity and severity of cases.
David Adams, Riley County EMS director, said when looking at possible reinstatement of restrictions, officials must look at all circumstances to determine which might need to be put back in place. Many of the recent infections have been among 18- to 24-year-olds, he said, which might be handled differently if most were in their 40s, 50s or 60s.
“We’re trying to target our response and what we’re doing to where those people are at, where they’re interacting for the most part,” he said.
Gibbs and Adams reiterated the importance of wearing a mask in public, maintaining distance from others and washing hands or using hand sanitizer frequently. Gibbs noted that there was community spread early on in Manhattan, and Adams added that someone might have contracted coronavirus in, for example, Aggieville, but then gone to the grocery store or other location before realizing they could be spreading it.
“I know we talked a lot about Aggieville and we should...but it’s everywhere in the community,” he said.
In the most recent count updated Friday, Riley County has 184 cases, including 109 active cases, 72 recoveries and three deaths. The state of Kansas has 13,538 cases and 264 deaths.