• Last modified 935 days ago (Nov. 16, 2020)


COVID surge continues at record levels Monday

Staff writer

Marion County's record-breaking surge of COVID-19 cases continued Moday with disclosure of 23 new cases, with a total of 80 new cases over the past seven days. Monday's report came four days after a record-matching 31 new cases were reported.

The rate of new cases slowed slightly from Friday's seven-day record of 88 cases, but continued an ominous pattern of eclipsing nearly all previous seven-day records. Until Oct. 24, just three weeks ago, the record for new cases in any seven-day period had been just 25. It took the county 154 days, from April 1 until Sept. 1, before it recorded as many cases as it has in the past seven days.

The new cases, which bring the county's total to 373, mean 3 out of every 100 people in the county have now had COVID. The current infection rate of 31.4 per 1,000 residents is up 6.7 from a week ago, topped only by Thursday and Friday's seven-day jumps of 7.4. Rising just 1.0 in one week means a county is designated federally as a “red zone,”. After visiting a red zone, travelers living in some communities are forced into quarantine for 14 days.

Kansas Department of Education guidelines urge local school districts to cancel face-to-face classes and activities and teach remotely when more than 10% of COVID-19 tests administered in their community during any two-week period come back positive. According to data released day by the county health department, Marion County has seen nearly 5 times that positivity rate — 49.7% — in the past 14 days and a rate of nearly 7½ times that much — 74.0% — in the past seven days alone. The single-day rate for positive new tests on Monday was 24.7%; with 70 people receiving clean bills of health, out of 93 total tested after exposure.

The City of Marion continues to require wearing of face masks in public, although a majority of residents continue to ignore the law. Marion County, which overturned a mask mandate in July, again decided against it even after being asked to reconsider on Monday.

Ever since outbreaks were reported at county nursing homes and in county schools, the health department has not disclosed the age or gender of new patients. It never has disclosed their location or how the disease might have been transmitted to them.

All that the department would say Monday was that 94 patients (14 fewer than the record 108 on Thursday), were actively being treated for or were exhibiting clear symptoms of the disease, and that one of them (five fewer than the record number on Thursday) were hospitalized despite hospitals now turning away all but the most serious sufferers.

Last modified Nov. 16, 2020