Jun 30, 2021

Riley County sees increase in COVID-19 variants of concern

Posted Jun 30, 2021 5:21 PM

(RILEY COUNTY, KS – June 30, 2021) Riley County has identified 24 new positive Coronavirus cases and 28 additional recoveries since the last report on June 23, 2021. 

The percent of positive cases for the week of June 20th was 5.2%. That translates to 30 of the 580 tests performed coming back positive. 

Four COVID-positive patients are currently under care at Ascension Via Christi Hospital in Manhattan. Two patients are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). 

In Riley County, since February, there has been a total of 31 positive cases from variants of concern. Nineteen of the cases are from the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, 11 cases from the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) variant, and one from the B.1.429 (Epsilon) variant. 

As the Delta variant becomes more prevalent throughout the United States, it is important to know the variant is estimated to be 75% more contagious than the original strain. In addition, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is the “fastest and fittest” variant. 

“The new variant is spreading quickly. Continue to wash your hands, wear your mask in crowded settings, especially if you are not vaccinated, and practice social distancing when you can,” explains Riley County Health Department Director Julie Gibbs. 

There has been an additional seven confirmed vaccine breakthrough cases in Riley County. However, unlike the six breakthrough cases reported last week, which were linked to individuals who tested positive for a variant, these cases were not tested for variant lineage. This is because the seven individuals refused, or the sequencing was not requested at the time of testing. 

As noted previously, vaccine breakthrough cases are expected. While vaccines are still the best protection from COVID-19, no vaccine is 100% effective. According to the CDC, there is some evidence getting a COVID-19 vaccine may make symptoms less severe for those who are vaccinated and still get sick. Furthermore, current data suggests COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States offer protection against most SARS-CoV-2 variants, while natural immunity may not. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s requirements for a vaccine breakthrough case

Vaccine Operations (RCHD): 

Received dose 2 of 2 (Fully vaccinated): 21,736

Received dose 1 of 2: 525

Vaccines are being offered at the Riley County Health Department. Please call 785-565-6560 M-F between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm to schedule an appointment.  

Riley County Statistics for June 30:

  1. Total positive cases in Riley County Residents: 6,706
  2. Total active: 43
  3. Total recovered: 6,620
  4. Total deaths: 43
  5. Total variant cases: 31 


Week 25 (June 20 - June 26) 5.2%

  1. 30 positive cases
  2. 580 total tests

Week 24 (June 13 - June 19) 7.5%

  1. 37 positive cases
  2. 493 total tests 

Two-week average: 6.24%

  1. 67 positive 
  2. 1,073 total tests


If individuals are traveling out of the state or country, they can contact the RCHD to get a PCR saliva test kit to take before they travel. Most overseas travel requires a negative test result within 72 hours of flying. 

The Riley County Health Department provides rapid testing for symptomatic individuals and saliva-based testing for anyone. Please call our screening call center at 785-323-640 for more information. 

The next written update will be published on Wednesday, July 7.

For general questions related to the COVID-19 vaccine, members of the public can check the FAQ information online at https://www.rileycountyks.gov/.../Frequently-Asked-Questions  

Questions can also be emailed to [email protected]