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“New” Recommendations from Shawnee Co. Health Officer

Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 10:38 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Not only the 17,200 positive cases, the county reports 1,000 probable cases and 350 deaths in the county as of Monday with concerns of the UK and California variants being in the county.

Stormont Vail’s Infectious Disease Physician Clifton Jones said a 22% spike in cases between the first and second week of April will be followed as it could be a trend, or it could not.

He said there’s activity in the community compared to November and December of last year and it’s probably comparable to what the county saw in May and early June last year, with expectations of the numbers to continue climbing up through the summer. They ended up leveling off in Nov. and Dec.

“We had every expectation of the numbers would continue to climb and become insurmountable that’s how it was looking right after Thanksgiving and it did not happen it was a very very busy time in healthcare. Lots of individuals were quite sick but fortunately the numbers flattened out through the latter part of December through January,” he said.

The Kansas University Health System officials spoke about counties loosening their restrictions on their Facebook daily briefings and the possibility that infectious control policies will be dropped. The doctors said it is safe for people to travel, but they need to continue to follow precautions.

Steven Stites, UKHS Affairs Vice Chancellor, said, “The rules of infection control travel with you wherever you go and those rules haven’t changed. Wash your hands, wear a mask, don’t go outside sick, cough into your elbow, keep your distance. On a plane it’s harder to keep your distance so you’ve got to make sure you’ve done all the other things too.”

Jones said, “I think it’s advisable for individuals to continue if they’re in a congregate setting if they’re in a public setting, the optimal recommendation is to still wear that mask and try to maintain distance.”

Now, Stormont Vail and other health professions are asking how can they predict what will happen next. Stormont’s hospital numbers are flat and declining over the past two months. Jones said there are still sick people, but ultimately it is a small number.

“The community numbers went up between the first week and the second week of April by 22% I think from the upper 90′s to 116,” he said. “It’s not that many people but it’s still an increase where we had been seeing a decrease prior to that but with any numbers with COVID we look for trends cause there can be a small little surge over the course of a week that could reflect opportunities of people together, whether they’re students or adults in a certain work setting where they would be any increase in activity.”

Jones said they will continue to see what happens over time compared to last April. That number had represented a decline, Jones said a significant one.

“If we see a significant decline over four weeks or 8 weeks, that’s when we’ll really know if it’s not behind us it’s at a point where it should be sustainable,” he said.

The health department says the recommendations focus on the primary components that have been shown to have the greatest impact on reducing the spread of COVID-19. A full list of recommendations can be found here: https://www.snco.us/HD/coronavirus.asp. Visit the CDC’s Vaccine Finder tool to locate the closest vaccinating provider.

Questions about the health officer’s recommendations can be sent to covid19info@snco.us or by calling 785.251.4949. Questions regarding COVID-19 vaccine can be emailed to CovidVaccine@snco.us.

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A news release from the Shawnee County Health Department issued “new recommendations” on continuing to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Shawnee County.

Those “new recommendations” are to continue “social distancing and the use of face masks or other face coverings”. As of Monday, there has been 17,232 reported positive cases, 1,020 probable cases, and 356 deaths of Shawnee County residents. Both the UK-originating variant (B.1.1.7) and the California-originating variant (B.1.429) have now been documented in Shawnee County.

The health department says the recommendations focus on the primary components that have been shown to have the greatest impact on reducing the spread of COVID-19. A full list of recommendations can be found here: https://www.snco.us/HD/coronavirus.asp. Visit the CDC’s Vaccine Finder tool to locate the closest vaccinating provider.

Questions about the health officer’s recommendations can be sent to covid19info@snco.us or by calling 785.251.4949. Questions regarding COVID-19 vaccine can be emailed to CovidVaccine@snco.us.

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