Oct 01, 2020 10:51 AM

COVID-19 hammers Phillips Co. for another week

Posted Oct 01, 2020 10:51 AM

Two dozen new cases in seven days

By KIRBY ROSS
Phillips County Review

PHILLIPSBURG — Phillips County continues having one of the highest per capita outbreaks of COVID-19 in the state of Kansas, with another 24 cases hitting in seven days.  

These latest numbers bring total cases up to four dozen in just over two weeks time, as well as 69 during the course of the current explosion that started the week of Aug. 16 and had a local college-age student as patient zero.

These are significant numbers in comparison with other counties in our region, except for Rooks County, which is also having serious problems (see below).

Hopes For Reduction In Outbreak Dashed

Phillips County had earlier had a mass outbreak at the Logan Manor Nursing Home.  That crisis had run its course by early August, and as of the second week of that month Phillips County was COVID-free — no lingering cases and no new cases.

That was until the newer, unrelated outbreak began the week of Aug. 16.  

Now over a month later, there had been some hope COVID had finally hit a plateau in recent days as the Phillips County Health Department reported early this week that cases had held steady over the course of last weekend and no new ones had came in.

However, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment stood at odds with that data, reporting four new diagnoses hit Phillips County over last weekend.

KDHE numbers usually lag a day or two behind Phillips County Health Department’s due to the time it takes for the health department to transfer data to Topeka, and then for KDHE to update that data at their end.

That process somehow was reversed last weekend when on Fri., Sept. 18, both Phillips County Health and KDHE’s overall numbers for Phillips County stood at a total of 116 since the pandemic began in March.

Then on Monday, Phillips County Health reported “No New Positive Cases of Novel Coronavirus In Phillips County” over the weekend, noting the number had remained at 116.

KDHE, on the other hand, upped their own count to 120 on Monday.  The Review is attempting to ascertain the reason for the discrepancy.

Girl Under Age Five

A new milestone was hit last week as a girl under the age of 5 years old was diagnosed with the disease in Phillips County, making for the youngest local victim since the pandemic began in March.

In addition, in Phillips County COVID struck every single KDHE age category except one last week — and there are ten different such categories.

According to state health officials, last week’s Phillips County COVID victims fell into the following age ranges:

Based upon the data points reported above, the obvious local highest risk groups from last week were college-age kids 18-24, as well as middle age to elderly individuals ages 45-84.

Digging Deeper

But, in digging deeper and looking at more detailed metadata the Phillips County Review has accessed, the subcategories of the Phillips County social groups which were at the highest risk of being diagnosed with the disease last week appear to have been men in their 50s — they accounted for fully one-fourth of all local COVID cases for that time period.

In addition, college age women in Phillips County also had a spike last week.

The Center for Disease Control continues to assert the best way to avoid contracting COVID-19 is to avoid crowds, wear masks in public, and practice social distancing.