Shawnee County sees improvement, officials warn residents to be cautious


The Shawnee County Health Department held a virtual media conference on, Thursday, Jan. 21 and were cautiously optimistic about improvements.

While the SCHD is seeing improvements individual speakers encouraged residents to continue to take precautions and continue to socially distance, wear masks and wash hands.

On Wednesday, Jan. 20 the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported that there were 346 active clusters in the state.

Shawnee County had six clusters. Clusters were reported at the Topeka Correctional Facility, Valeo Health, Kelly House of Topeka, McCrite Plaza long term care facility, Rossville Health and Rehabilitation, and USD 345 Seaman Transportation.

The clusters were responsible for 130 cases of coronavirus.

Craig Barnes reported on average Shawnee County is seeing 124 cases per day. There were 21 deaths for the week of Jan. 3.

Shawnee County has seen 265 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Shawnee County remains ‘uncontrolled’ on the scorecard.

Dr. Robert Kenagy told residents 2,400 vaccines are being administered daily, however they do not know when they will get more vaccines.

Steve Anderson, chief executive officer for Kansas Health System, St. Frances Campus, said 70% of staff has had the first dose of vaccine.

St. Francis Hospital in Topeka will begin vaccinating anyone 65 years and older as the state moves into Phase 2 of its vaccination plan, the University of Kansas Health System announced Thursday.

The state of Kansas is now in Phase 2 of the vaccination plan. Anyone 65 and older interested in getting the vaccine needs to complete the form located on St. Francis’ websiteby clicking here.

Dr. Dennis Cooley, MD, interim Health Officer for the Shawnee County Health Department said over 15,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine has been distributed.

“We will do this as fast as we can,” Cooley said as he asked for the patience of Shawnee County residents.

Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla, who is quarantining at home after acquiring the coronavirus spoke from her home. De La Isla encouraged residents to “take every precaution.”

“Thank you all to our community,” De La Isla said. “Our health care professionals are phenomenal.”

De La Isla was visibly ill, coughing lightly and having to pause briefly to catch her breath when she was speaking.

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