Active COVID-19 cases rise as campus cluster is confirmed


By Jessie Wagoner

News-Ledger Staff


A COVID-19 cluster has been identified at a local college, raising the total of active COVID-19 cases to 23 in McPherson County. 

As of press time, 23 individuals, including a 9-month-old baby, currently have COVID-19. Four of those individuals are currently hospitalized, and the remainder are recovering at home. Of the 203 total cases in McPherson County, 179 people have recovered, and one person has died.

Four of the most recently diagnosed cases involve students at a local college. The students are all symptomatic but not hospitalized and are recovering in McPherson County. The health department continues contact tracing and is actively investigating the outbreak among students.

Shalei Shea, director of the McPherson County Health Department, released updated data regarding the cases. Only 21 of the 203 cases have been asymptomatic, and 76 of those diagnosed with COVID-19 have unknown exposure. 

Those between the ages of 18 to 29 have had more cases than any other age group, with a total of 62. This is followed by 44 cases among those over the age of 60. Nineteen cases have been diagnosed in children under the age of 18. A total of 113 women have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 89 males.

Thirteen people have been hospitalized and four of those had to be placed on a ventilator. Currently, four McPherson County residents are hospitalized for COVID-19.

All schools are back in session in McPherson County, and the health department is working closely with community partners to continue to evaluate the school year. Shea explains what factors are considered in making recommendations regarding school.

“The percent of positive cases out of how many McPherson County residents were tested during a 14-day period will facilitate MCHD recommendations,” Shea said. “Criteria that will influence the recommendation to move schools to more or less restrictive measures can be found on on the home page, under “COVID-19: Reopening McPherson County.”

Data that is currently available includes:

  • June 29 to July 12: 5.47% positive rate
  • July 13 to July 26: 11.49% positive rate
  • July 27 to August 9: 12.64% positive rate
  • August 10 to August 23: 8.62% positive rate

McPherson County is in Phase 3 of Reopening Kansas. McPherson County Health Department recommends McPherson County remains in Phase 3 at least until Sept. 14. This decision extends Phase 3 again by two incubation periods and is based off the number of positive cases with unknown exposure and the continuous increase in new cases.