'Delta variant' fueling COVID-19 case increases

Chad Frey
The Kansan

COVID-19 case numbers in Harvey County, and the state of Kansas, are rising again. For the second straight week, the county numbers grew within 24 hours of the weekly data release from KDHE. 


And this time, that number grew with a case that piqued the interest of the director of the Harvey County Health Department, Lynette Redington, and the county commission. 

As of Tuesday, there is another breakthrough case in Harvey County — meaning a fully vaccinated individual has contracted the disease. 

"The response to the COVID virus is lesser for them than an individual who has not been vaccinated," Redington said. "Those cases are being investigated." 

Harvey County reported 20 cases and zero deaths in the latest week. A week earlier, it had reported 13 cases and zero deaths. Throughout the pandemic it has reported 3,743 cases and 72 deaths.

New coronavirus cases leaped in Kansas in the week ending Sunday, rising 58.2% as 2,962 cases were reported. The previous week had 1,872 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Kansas ranked eighth among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.

"Something that is alarming across the state is that we are having a increase in cases," Redington said. "Yes it is related to he Delta Variant. The state is doing more testing on all PCFs that are positive. They are just starting and to ramp that up."

July 15 KHDE  showed the daily average for new cases reports was 191 statewide, July 19 that number went to 440. 

"We still need to be careful," Redington said.

Free testing is still available, with appointments available at gogettested.com. 

"You feel like it might be allergies? Don't guess. Just go get a test," Redington said. 

Vaccinations in the county have slowed, and officials are trying to find ways to encourage more people to get the shot. Now eligible for shots are anyone 12 and older. 

"We are at a good point, but not the best  point for vaccinations," Redington said. "We are 55 percent of the individuals who are eligible to get vaccinated. ... We need to do better and get more done."

Redington said free vaccinations are still available. 

"If you don't know where, go to vaccinefinder.gov and you can find a location in our county," Redington said.