The surge in COVID cases in Riley County, tied to the Omicron variant may soon peak.

As students return to Kansas State University in the next few days, Riley County Health Department Director Julie Gibbs is predicting things will get worse before our area gets some reprieve as national levels begin to peak.

      0113-Gibbs 1

Gibbs shared those comments during a Facebook Live event Thursday (see below) with other health officials, including Ascension Via Christi President Bob Copple and Riley County PIO Vivienne Uccello.

Five COVID-related deaths have been reported at Ascension Via Christi this week, something not experienced at the hospital during the pandemic. Those involve residents from across the region. Copple also says more people have been dying from complications at their hospital in the past three months.

      0113-Copple 1

Copple says rising COVID numbers, coupled with flu cases, strep and other seasonally-related illnesses have also led medical providers locally to see some of their highest patient volumes of their careers.

During Thursday’s Riley County Commission meeting, Gibbs spoke to testing volume, noting they’re sending around 50 tests per day to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

      0113-Gibbs 2

Gibbs says they were expecting this change from KDHE due to the surge of cases across the state.

The school districts in Riley County are also seeing similar trends. When it comes to testing, KDHE is still offering free testing in the parking lot of Manhattan Town Center, while also closing in on an indoor location.

      0113-Gibbs 3

Gibbs says the health department has enough rapid tests to last until spring, but supplies are dwindling at the state level.

*Brandon Peoples and Sam Hennigh both contributed to this article

The post Riley Co. Health Department Director says peak COVID surge likely one to two weeks out appeared first on News Radio KMAN.