While not an official end to the pandemic, Riley County’s top public health official says it appears by all indicators, the COVID-19 situation locally is no longer a public health emergency.

The latest health department data provided Wednesday, showed a 6.85 percent positive rate for the current two-week period. It’s a significant drop from the 16.6 percent rate the previous two weeks. According to new CDC metrics for communities, announced last week, Riley County’s community risk level is medium.

In a release from the health department Wednesday, Local Health Officer Julie Gibbs stated a lot has been learned in the past two years.

“Thankfully, the community is now in a position to resume more of the social activities we all love. The health department will remain alert and active, and we will let you know if a new variant poses concerns locally. We’ll also continue to provide COVID testing, vaccinations, and information to the public. COVID will continue to be part of our lives, but it is not currently an emergency situation for Riley County,” she said.

Riley County Health Department Director and Local Health Officer Julie Gibbs (courtesy photo)

Hospitals are no longer seeing the influx of COVID positive patients as they saw just a few short weeks ago. Locally, the hospitalization rate has dropped 83 percent since early January and Manhattan’s Via Christi was caring for four COVID-positive patients as of Wednesday. At the height of the Omicron surge, hundreds of new cases were being identified daily, with the hospital reaching a peak of 23 hospitalizations.

There are 46 active COVID-19 cases in Riley County. The health department says it’s aware of five more deaths involving COVID-positive patients, bringing the county’s total to 79 since the pandemic began two years ago.

Kansas State University dropped its face mask requirement for indoor spaces Wednesday. The Manhattan-Ogden School District similarly dropped its requirement two weeks ago, and plans to vote Wednesday evening on whether to drop its mask requirement for the preschool and on district transportation vehicles.

Complete data can be found below.

Riley County COVID-19 Statistics for March 2, 2022

  • Total positive cases in Riley County residents: 13,400
  • Total active: 46
  • Total recovered: 13,275
  • Total deaths: 79

Percent Positive

Two-Week Rolling Percent Positivity Rate: 6.85%

  • Tested Positive: 132
  • Tested Negative: 1,795
  • Total Tested: 1,927

Week 7 (February 13 – 20): 8.39%

  • Total Positives: 97
  • Total Tested: 1,156

Week 8 (February 14 – 26): 4.54%

  • Total Positives: 35
  • Total Tested: 771

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