County nears 1,000th COVID case
But infection rate continues to slow after surge after holidays
Marion County recorded its 999th coronavirus case Tuesday even as a recent surge in new cases continued to ebb.
From Halloween until about two weeks after New Year’s Day, the number of new cases each week averaged 58.
In the past week, the county has recorded just 15 new cases of COVID-19 — a dramatic decrease from 28 a week ago, 32 the week before that, and 67 in the seven days that ended three weeks ago.
Weekly totals peaked at 90 during the second week of January. They now appear headed back to where they were throughout most of October.
County data released Tuesday said only 14 patients were being treated, exhibiting symptoms or under isolation orders because they tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
A greater number — 16 — were reported to have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
That’s four more deaths than had been reported a week ago. However, officials have cautioned that death reports often are delayed for weeks or months. No further information on the four newly reported deaths this week was released.
State data, which typically is slightly off from county data, listed Marion County as having had 999 cases since April 1. County data inexplicably listed only 986 on Tuesday.
According to state data, Marion County has for some reason fared better than most other state counties.
After at one time ranking in the top third of counties for the most cases per 1,000 residents, Marion County now ranks 86th out of 105 counties with a rate of 84.1 cases per 1,000 residents.
Statewide, the rate is 98.7 per 1,000 residents. Rates are considerably higher that Marion County’s in all surrounding counties:
Chase County 89.1
Dickinson County 90.4
Morris County 96.3
Harvey County 96.9
Sedgwick County 102.0
Butler County 105.5
McPherson County 106.5
Saline County 108.2
According to Record analysis of the data, the number of cases per 1,000 shows only a slight correlation with whether a county has adopted a mask mandate.
An even smaller degree of correlation was found with whether the county is primarily urban.
A third test — of the conservative leanings of each county, as measured by the percentage of votes captured by Republicans in the November election — revealed a slightly greater negative correlation, but like the other correlations, it was slight at best.
Fully one-half of Marion County’s COVID cases have occurred since Dec. 6. One-fourth have occurred since Jan. 4, and three-fourths have occurred since Nov. 5.
As of Tuesday, county officials reported, 890 county residents had been vaccinated against COVID-19.