Shawnee Co. health officials encouraged by recent COVID trends, uptick in vaccinations

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 6:35 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Shawnee Co. continues to see improving COVID-19 trends with the latest community indicator reporting the lowest weekly case count in the area since July.

Craig Barnes with the Shawnee County Health Department said drops in cases could mean the end of the Delta variant surge but now that flu season is here, the agency is keeping an eye on the possibility of a twindemic of flu and COVID cases.

“We have been noticing RSV numbers have been increasing here recentl,y we are interested in seeing what the flu numbers will be this fall and this winter,” he said.

“Last season, we still had masks and mitigation measures still in place and a lot of those have fallen by the wayside this year.”

He said what’s been encouraging is a recent milestone with COVID vaccinations.

“We just hit over 60 percent of our eligible population rate vaccinated and that’s great to see,” he said.

“We have the sixth-highest vaccination rate in the state of Kansas so Shawnee County is doing great on the vaccination front.”

Meantime the health department is looking to improve vaccination rates in eligible school-aged children and hopes to send a message to families.

“The vaccine’s still safe it is safe for those individuals and it’s a great way to keep kids in sports or if they’re participating in extracurriculars like band or theater,” Barnes said.

“It’s a great way to make sure they don’t need to quarantine and participate in any of the extracurriculars they’re in.”

Barnes said even with a bit of relief officials are still watching in case there are any future spikes.

“We’re always preparing and monitoring the trends and we’ll be monitoring the guidance from the CDC and the KDHE as we get closer to thanksgiving and Christmas holidays,” he said.

“Those are two times of year where there’s a lot of indoor gatherings and so we definitely recommend vaccinations as the true way to protect your family as the holidays come around.”

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