covid numbers 2/17/21

The Emporia Gazette

Lyon County Public Health updated its COVID-19 dashboard on Wednesday for the first time since Friday, as it took Monday off due to Presidents’ Day.

The total number of cases has now reached 4,003 in the county, which is up from 3,983 reported on Friday.

With 20 new cases and 15 new recoveries, the number of total active cases sits at an even 100 with two COVID-19-related hospitalizations.

No new deaths have been reported since Friday. In all, 75 people in Lyon County have died due to COVID-19, with four deaths pending review from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Statewide, there has been a total of 288,717 cases from all 105 counties. There have been 4,521 Kansans who have died of COVID-19.

The Associated Press reported this week that Kansas is likely to have pockets of a new, more contagious coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom. Dr. Lee Norman, the head of the state health department, and other public health officials believe it could become the state’s dominant strain.

The first recorded Kansas case of the United Kingdom coronavirus variant was in Ellis County earlier this month, infecting a student-athlete at Fort Hays State University “who never was particularly very ill,” Norman said. The state health department said Monday that a second case had been identified in Sedgwick County. Norman said the person infected was a “young man” who had traveled out of state.

He said the case in Ellis County in northwest Kansas and in Sedgwick County in south-central Kansas are not connected.

Public health officials said the emergence of the coronavirus variant in a majority of states means that people can’t let their guard down about wearing masks, social distancing and taking other precautions.

“We are getting the feeling that it will become a dominant strain because it is more infectious,” Norman said during an online briefing with University of Kansas Health System officials. “I’m sure there’s going to be pockets of spread in local regions.”

The state identifies coronavirus variants through genetic testing, and Norman said the state health department is now doing it for medical providers “whenever we’re asked.”

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