Miami County Health Department

Miami County has 44 active COVID-19 cases, down from 75 to 80 active cases the previous week, according to the latest Miami County Health Department (MCHD) report.

Christena Beer, nurse epidemiologist with MCHD, told county commissioners Wednesday, Aug. 4, the county’s two-week positivity rate also had dropped to 7.7 percent.

“That’s down a little bit from the previous two-week positivity rate,” Beer said. “Kansas is around 8 to 9 percent for the last month.”

She said Aug. 4 the county has had a total of 3,007 cases since the pandemic began. The death count remains at 43.

Commissioner Phil Dixon asked Beer what caused the drop from about 80 cases on July 28 to 44 cases one week later.

“A lot of those cases have been closed,” Beer said. “They were associated with a large cluster that was related to a day camp.”

Beer said 27 percent of the current active cases are related to two clusters.

“We have one in a long-term care facility and one in a hospital setting,” she said.

The county has recorded 17 variant cases. While a breakdown in cases by variant wasn’t available, Beer estimated many of those cases are the delta variant.

Testing is still available in several locations in the county.

“We have Rockers, Vohs and Olathe Health locations that are all still currently testing,” Beers said.

Rockers and Vohs pharmacies are located in Paola and Louisburg, respectively.

She noted that soon the health department will be able to offer testing at its facility.

Beer said the majority of the county’s cases are being routed to Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) for investigation and follow-up.

She also provided an update on vaccination efforts in the county.

More than 9,900 Miami County residents have been vaccinated, Beer said.

“Our department has administered a total of 11,317, that’s including first and second doses,” she said.

Statewide, about 48 percent of Kansans have been vaccinated with one dose and 42 percent have completed the vaccine series, Beer reported.

“We continue to allocate vaccine to our partners on a weekly basis,” Beer told commissioners. “The last two weeks they have requested a substantial increased amount compared to previous weeks.”

Miami County Health Department, located at 1201 Lakemary Drive in Paola, offers a free walk-in vaccine clinic every Monday.

Beer said the walk-in clinic Monday, Aug. 2, attracted 54 people.

“That’s a record number for what we’ve been seeing since we started our walk-in clinics on Mondays,” she said.

Beer estimated about half of MCHD’s new vaccine recipients are in the 12 to 18 age group. She attributed that increase to the new school year, which starts in mid-August. Beer said she thinks a vaccine for the 5 to 11 age group could be approved by early 2022.

The department has fielded calls from recipients of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine who are interested in getting a booster shot. Beer said KDHE has not recommended offering booster shots, and she’s not aware of any counties that are making booster shots available because they have not been authorized to do so.

Beer offered a vaccine breakdown by zip code in the county, comparing the percentage of fully vaccinated residents on May 19 to a new report generated Aug. 3.

  • Bucyrus (Miami and Johnson counties combined) increased from 29 percent to 36 percent in that 2 ½-month period.
  • Fontana (Miami and Linn counties) also went from 29 percent to 36 percent.
  • La Cygne (Linn and Miami counties) increased from 23 percent to 27 percent.
  • Louisburg went from 28 percent to 33 percent.
  • Osawatomie rose from 24 percent to 29 percent.
  • Paola increased from 63 percent to 73 percent.
  • Spring Hill (Miami and Johnson counties) rose from 41 percent to 50 percent.

Commissioner George Pretz asked Beer why she thought Paola was at about 70 percent, while Osawatomie and Louisburg were only at about 30 percent.

Beer couldn’t pinpoint one specific reason, but she did not think it was a lack of availability.

“We are making sure we do have access in all of our communities for everyone who wants it,” she said.

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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