Miami County showed a decrease in new COVID-19 cases since last week, while hospitalizations and deaths continued at about the same pace.
The county recorded 111 new COVID-19 cases since Sept. 22, Emergency Manager Coordinator Mark Whelan told county commissioners at their meeting Wednesday, Sept. 29.
“The good news is that’s a decrease of 48 new cases from the week before,” he said.
Whelan and Christena Beer, assistant director of the Miami County Health Department, delivered the weekly COVID-19 update to the County Commission.
Whelan said the health department is showing 170 to 190 active cases at this time.
“Hospital status is looking better (across the region),” Whelan said. “Hospitalizations are going down. New cases are going down throughout the metro.”
He said the county recorded seven new hospitalizations, which is one less than the week before, according to Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). Three of the new hospitalizations were admitted to Intensive Care Units.
Whelan said there were no new hospitalizations of patients aged 17 and under, after one in each of the previous two weeks, in the 10-17 age category and the 0-9 age group.
The county recorded three new deaths, raising the total count to 60, Whelan said.
Beer provided the County Commission with additional information about those deaths.
“We have recorded three new deaths within the last week unfortunately,” Beer said. “One 75-year-old male passed away today. We had a 59-year-old female pass away on the 27th, and a 50-year-old female pass away on the 24th, all of whom were unvaccinated.”
Whelan reported the county has multiple clusters active in the county’s school districts, along with two private businesses.
School boards have regularly discussed COVID-19 protocols as the new school year has unfolded. Paola, Louisburg and Osawatomie have all called special school board meetings to discuss such topics as case numbers and corresponding phases of their safe-return-to-school plans, as well as modified quarantines and in-school testing.
Beer provided county commissioners with a breakdown of current active cases aged 17 and under.
“One in Lane that’s on the Miami County side, 16 in Louisburg, 13 in Osawatomie, 37 in Paola and one in Spring Hill (Miami County),” she said.
Beer said KDHE is investigating a lot of Miami County’s cases. Based on KDHE numbers which have been input to a tracking system, she provided commissioners with an update on variants and breakthrough cases.
“All of the new cases that are being sequenced at the state lab, as well as regionally, 100 percent accounts for the Delta variant,” she said. “And so CDC and KDHE say that we should automatically assume that all the positive active cases are the Delta variant at this time.”
Breakthrough cases are increasing.
"As breakthrough cases increase, we have had four total deaths in breakthrough cases (in Miami County), meaning they’ve had either two doses of Moderna or Pfizer or one dose of Johnson and Johnson two weeks out,” Beer said.
Regarding the four breakthrough deaths, two of the individuals were vaccinated with Moderna and two were vaccinated with Pfizer, she said.
Beer said the county has recorded 10 breakthrough cases in individuals vaccinated with Johnson and Johnson, 48 in those vaccinated with Moderna and 76 in those vaccinated with Pfizer.
KDHE reports about 49 percent of Miami County residents over the age of 12 have received one dose of vaccine, and 45 percent have completed their vaccination series. The county’s population is over 34,000.
Beer said the number of vaccinated individuals continues to increase. She said the department is coordinating the roll out of its vaccination supplies with its pharmacy partners to ensure that no doses are wasted.
The county health department offers walk-in vaccination clinics each Monday.
The county had recorded 4,090 total COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, Sept. 29, according to KDHE. The county's two-week positivity rate continues to drop slightly, dipping under 10 percent for the first time in September at 9.9 percent.