As of the most recent update, Geary County has 19 known active cases of COVID-19.

As of the most recent update, no community members are hospitalized with the virus in Geary County. Last week, a total of 13 new cases were located by the health department and 11 people were newly listed as recovered from their illness.

The health department’s unofficial death count remains steady at 26.

The health department lists a total of 1,645 cases of the virus in the county since the pandemic began last spring. Of these, 1,600 are listed as recovered. This is different from the Kansas Department of Health and the Environment’s count, which totals 3,422 for Geary County.

This difference — now of 1,777 — has been attributed to Fort Riley numbers, which the health department said does not report to the county but does report its numbers to the state.

The same goes for vaccinations, according to health department Director Tammy Von Busch.

When questioned about why the KDHE lists Geary County as the lowest in the state in terms of percentages of the population vaccinated, she said this was in part owing to Fort Riley.

“Fort Riley numbers (of those vaccinated) are not reported to the state, but much of their population lives in Geary County, that negatively impacts our numbers,” she said. “The state is aware of that and has put disclaimers on their data but according to them, everyone looks at the number reporting as a competition and it is not. There are other counties having similar issues because they are along the borders and their residents go to other states to get vaccinated which affects their numbers as well.”

She said the health department was promoting vaccination in the community by putting information out via the county website, social media, press releases and outreach.

“It is advertised on the county website, the Health Department website, our and Emergency Management Facebook, and press releases are periodically put out,” Von Busch said. “We also reach out to individual organizations to help them out, such as Smithfield, etc.”

There has been some negative pushback against COVID-19 vaccinations in the community, she said.

“Johnson and Johnson made people more wary of all COVID vaccines,” Von Busch said.

According to Von Busch, senior citizens are the county’s most-vaccinated population while the least vaccinated group is younger people aged 19 to 24.

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