COVID continues to spread in county

Chad Frey
The Kansan

The latest COVID-19 statistics broke a couple of trends — for two previous weeks case loads had dropped below 100 and the fastest growing age group for infections was 10 to 17.

COVID-19

"This week, unfortunately, we have gone to the triple digits again," said Lynette Redington, director of the Harvey County Health Department. "We are hanging around 114 to 116, in that range. ... We have seen in the past week the ages range a little higher."

Those 60 and older were the fastest growing age group in the week ending Oct. 9.

The county reported 114 new cases that week — and during her Tuesday update to the county commission/board of health Redington added nine more. Total cases found in the county since the pandemic began stood at 4,799. Of those,  4,594 have recovered from the infection.

The county reported one new death, setting the total at 80.

That changed a trend In Harvey County the fastest growth for COVID-19 cases is in the 10 to 17 age range, with 50 percent of new cases within the recent weeks occurring in the age group. The age group has become the most infected age group in the county — a benchmark reached about two weeks ago.

In the latest age data report from Harvey County, 721 patients between 10 and 17 had been diagnosed since the pandemic began.

The younger co-hort, ages 0-9, is a much different story. There, the county has found 291 cases. Only those ages 70 to 79 and 80+ have seen lower numbers.

Vaccinations are now available for those age 12 and up, with testing for younger children underway by manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna.

In the county,  645.9 per 1,000 residents age 12 and up have been vaccinated — last week 3.8 per 1,000 people in the age group were newly vaccinated.

Pfizer and BioNTech are officially asked the FDA and Biden administration to authorize the use of their COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, seeking an emergency use designation.

According to polling by the U.S. Census, there is concern among parents, a hesitency to get children vaccinated.

Nationally, the most cited reason is concern with possible side effects of the vaccine. That hold true in Kansas,

In Kansas, 67 percent cited concern of side effects — but that was not the only reason for hesitency, those surveyed could give several reasons for not wanting to get their children vaccinated. Other common concerns were uncertainty if children need the vaccine, 41%, waiting to see if the vaccine is safe, 41%, and distrust of government, 43%.

Respondents were able to give more than one reason for their concern, meaning that the numbers will add up to more than 100 percent.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is currently approved for people age 16 and older, and authorized for use in people ages 12 to 15.

Pfizer Inc.  submitted data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from the Phase 2/3 trial of their COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 to 12 years of age at the end of September.