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As usual, county hit by minor spike in COVID

Staff writer

COVID-19 isn’t going away.

Mirroring results from a year ago, Marion County is in the midst of a small surge of new cases that seems to occur each year around when schools get out, college students head home, and families begin venturing off on vacations.

Data now are updated only once a week, around noon each Wednesday.

The most recent data put Marion County, along with Chase (Cottonwood Falls) and Lyon (Emporia), among 20 counties in the state with the highest incidence for new cases of the disease.

Other nearby counties — Dickinson, Saline, McPherson, Reno, Harvey, Sedgwick, and Butler — are in the next lower category, with “substantial” rates of incidence.

Morris (Council Grove) is the exception, with its rate another level lower, in the “moderate” category.

The increase in new cases began May 23, according to data from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Before that date, no more than two new cases had been reported on any one day since Feb. 16. On May 23, however, seven new cases were reported.

Three new cases were reported May 30 and five May 31, with both of those numbers expected to rise as dates represent disease onset, which typically occurs before diagnosis is verified.

The minor surge is nothing compared to a huge surge in cases the county recorded in January after a long buildup that began last August.

Troublingly, it almost exactly matches a surge that occurred around the same time both one and two years ago, suggesting that another surge beginning in August and peaking after Christmas might be coming, as happened in both of those years.

This year’s May surge appears slightly smaller than last year’s — a rolling seven-day average of 14 new cases compared to 23 a year ago. However, as noted, final data for this year are not yet available.

It’s impossible to know whether the surge will continue beyond the most recent week for which data are available. Worldwide, similar surges have been noted elsewhere.

However, if past patterns hold, the small surge should quickly pass, and the county would be likely to record no more than three new cases a day on any single date until around Aug. 1.

In the past, double-digit numbers of new cases began around Sept. 1. Numbers began approaching 20 new cases a day toward the end of the year, then peaked at as many as 92 new cases a day in January.

According to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, Marion County has recorded a total of 3,367 cases and 46 deaths since the pandemic began.

Last modified June 8, 2022

 

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