• Last modified 874 days ago (Jan. 20, 2022)


Worsening pandemic breaks all records

Staff writer

As of Monday, one out of every 32 people in Marion County — 366 in all — was under isolation orders with active cases of COVID-19, the county health department confirmed.

That’s 78 more active cases than were reported Thursday and 116 more than were reported a week ago. Case totals are updated each Monday and Thursday.

The county health department also added two more to the county death toll Tuesday, bringing the total to 37.

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday interfered with state officials’ thrice-weekly updating of statistics, but before the holiday the total number of new COVID cases recorded each day starting a week ago exceeded all previous single-day records for the pandemic.

According to those data, the county recorded a record 33 new cases last Tuesday — 9 more than the previous single-day record, set the Monday after Thanksgiving of this year.

Last Tuesday’s record number along with last Monday’s 23 new cases, Wednesday’s 21, and Thursday’s 19 all exceeded the highest single-day peak of last year’s pandemic and are likely to grow.

Daily tallies from Kansas Department of Health and Environment, last updated at noon Friday, are based on the dates when symptoms began.

More troubling, the record number undoubtedly understates the true depth of the latest outbreak.

Not included are those who didn’t notify authorities after using home tests to find that they were infected or who simply avoided testing because others in their household were known to have confirmed cases and they were sure they had COVID, too.

Health department administrator Krista Hoffer said home tests were most effective during the time someone was contagious.

She said she thought few people notify their physicians if a test was positive.

“In the time I’ve worked here in the health department we have not had anyone call us and tell me they had a positive test result,” she said.

Because of delays in testing and reporting, KDHE warns that numbers for the most recent seven days are preliminary and may underestimate the size of any new outbreak.

Updated numbers won’t be posted until today.

Before Nov. 4, the single-day record for new cases in Marion County was 18, set more than a year ago and equaled just before Christmas a year ago.

Since Nov. 4, that record has been matched or eclipsed seven times.

What previously had been regarded as COVID’s peak period — November through mid-January a year ago — saw the county record 637 cases. The same period this year has seen 812 cases — a 27.5% increase over last year’s record levels.

Other areas of the state have been experiencing COVID surges as well. However, COVID appears to be more virulent in Marion County than it is in the state as a whole.

In Marion County, which at one time lagged behind statewide rates, the overall infection rate — the percentage of the population that has come down with COVID — is now at 22.2%. Statewide, it is more than a full percentage point lower.

Since Nov. 15, weekly totals of new cases in Marion County have exceeded case totals from the same week last year. Statewide, that’s happened for only a few of those weeks.

Even though complete data for the latest week, which ended Sunday, has not yet been posted, the total already has exceeded by 15.4% the record for any entire seven-day period since the pandemic began 1½ years ago.

Last modified Jan. 20, 2022