New numbers emerged Wednesday showing how quickly a coronavirus outbreak has spread in the Madison area.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 27 “presumed student cases” in USD 386 in the two-week period ending Wednesday, Dec. 15.
The prior KDHE report, for the period ending Sunday, Dec. 12, showed only four student cases. That small number was enough for the district to call off several year-end activities, including choral concerts.
A jump of 23 cases in three days explains why Superintendent Stephen Jowers switched to homebound learning for the last three days of last week, leading to winter break. He told the school board that even vaccinated adults on the staff were getting the virus.
It also helps explain why the Madison City Council held its Monday night meeting by video conference, after months of in-person sessions.
The COVID-19 surge has spread to other parts of Greenwood County. The Health Department reported last Thursday it had 71 active cases, including 50 new cases in the Madison area and two in the Virgil area. But only one case in the county required hospitalization.
Greenwood County counts 1,262 cases of the virus since the pandemic arrived, with 18 confirmed deaths. The state number is lower, perhaps reflecting delays in reporting.
Other area schools have stabilized COVID-19 numbers, as winter break arrives. The KDHE shows 20 presumed student cases in USD 252, four in USD 251 and one in Chase County.
Emporia Schools had 65 presumed student cases from Dec. 2-15, meaning an increase of four in the first three days of last week.
KDHE data shows the number of COVID-19 cases across Kansas passed the 500,000 mark this past weekend. The virus is blamed for 6,916 deaths statewide.