• Last modified 972 days ago (Aug. 26, 2021)


Residents rush to get vaccinations

Staff writer

With more than double the number of COVID-19 cases in the past 38 days than the same period a year ago, demand for COVID-19 vaccinations in Marion County has increased.

The business of giving vaccines used to be slow, but more than three times as many people now are coming to the health department to roll up their sleeves to do battle against the virus.

“In the beginning of July, we were only giving about 20 COVID vaccinations per week. Now it is not unusual to give 25 to 32 vaccinations three days a week,” health department director Diedre Serene said.

Increased demand could be connected to a steep uptick in the number of COVID diagnoses among county residents.

From July 18 to Aug. 20, 57 county residents were diagnosed with COVID. During the same span in 2020, 25 were diagnosed.

As of Monday afternoon, the county had 27 active cases of COVID, with none hospitalized. A week ago, there were 16 active cases with none hospitalized.

The state health department has confirmed nine alpha variant and three delta variant cases in the county. The department tests only some positive results to see whether they are variants.

According to the state, the vast majority of new cases in Kansas are the delta variant.

Although Serene said the rising number of cases eventually would hit a peak and then decline, she has no guess when that will happen.

“More than likely it’s delta that’s tracking around,” Serene said. “Delta is far more contagious. With delta, one person typically infects five people.”

She continues to encourage people to get vaccinated.

“Obviously, if more people were vaccinated, it would help,” she said. “Unvaccinated people are more likely to go to the hospital.”

The county’s vaccination rate still lags behind statewide vaccination rates. Kansas Department of Health and Environment numbers show that 4,611, or 39%, of county residents have completed vaccinations. Statewide, 44.5% of Kansans have been completed vaccination.

Last modified Aug. 26, 2021