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67 new cases in 7 days; 2 care homes are ‘clusters’

Staff reporter

Reports of at least 67 new cases of COVID-19 in Marion County since Wednesday provided stark evidence Monday that the county’s 10-month pandemic was showing no signs of lessening.

The county was one of only seven statewide exhibiting an increase in cases last week. Bethesda Home in Goessel and Parkside Homes in Hillsboro were among 28 long-term care facilities in the state labeled as COVID-19 clusters.

State data cite 20 cases at Bethesda in the 14 days that ended Jan. 17 and 5 cases at Parkside in the 14 days that ended Jan. 14.

Overall, the new cases bring to at least 911 the county’s total number of cases. That’s the total according to county data. In data released the same day, Kansas Department of Health and Environment puts the total nine higher.

The two sets of figures vary for a variety of reasons, including various holidays, reporting difficulties, and apparently varying reporting standards or time frames, even on the same days.

County data normally are released late afternoons each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They were not available last Monday because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and were not released Friday because of what were termed “internet issues” at the county health department.

As of Monday, 65 Marion County residents were regarded by county officials as active cases, currently exhibiting symptoms, undergoing treatment, or being covered by isolation orders separate from quarantine orders imposed on uncounted others they might have exposed. Three of those with active cases were in hospitals. Both numbers were down from where they had been earlier, but the seven-day total of new cases was up.

The latest seven-day total, 67, is the same as it was Jan. 15 through 17. It briefly dipped as low as 49 before rising back to the 58-to-60 range until the new surge Monday.

The peak seven-day total during the pandemic was 90 on Jan. 8. The average seven-day total for December was 50. In November it was 61. Before Nov. 2, the highest it had ever been was 21.

Fully one-fourth of all COVID-19 cases in the county have been reported since Dec. 30. Half have been reported since Dec. 2, and three-fourths have been reported since Nov. 4.

County officials no longer release information about the number of people tested for COVID nor the ages of those testing positive. However, according to state information, 11.06% of all Marion County residents receiving PCR tests for COVID-19 last week tested positive, and 13.19% tested positive in the previous week. State standards regard a community’s two-week rate of positive testing as meriting cancellation of face-to-face school classes if it exceeds 10%.

As of Monday evening, the state was reporting the highest positivity rates for county residents last week were among people in age groups 65 and older. Lower rates, though still above the 10% threshhold, were reported for age groups between 18 and 64 and those ages 11 to 13. No positive tests were reported for other children 17 and younger.

Regardless of testing, rising numbers of cases were reported this week in two Marion County age groups — those 85 and older and those ages 18 to 24. Rising case totals were reported last week among those 11 to 13, 25 to 34, 45 to 64, and 75 and older.

The next county update on COVID-19 cases is expected Wednesday.

Last modified Jan. 27, 2021

 

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