Shawnee County health officials monitoring Delta variant as cases in Kansas rise


AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – DECEMBER 17: Medical testing equipment is shown in a lab at Auckland University on December 17, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today that the Government will purchase two new COVID-19 vaccines from pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Novavax, meaning every New Zealander will be able to be vaccinated. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant are on the rise throughout the state. There are currently 358 total cases in Kansas. Twelve of those are confirmed cases within Shawnee County, but health officials said they are pretty confident there are more.

The Shawnee County Health Department is monitoring outbreaks in the area, but they can’t confirm them as the Delta variant just yet. Positive COVID-19 tests that check for the variant have to go through genome sequencing, which means they are tested a certain way in a lab and that takes more time.

“They take that and they look at the whole viral genome which is everything that makes up the virus,” Derik Flerlage, the Infectious Disease Manager with the Shawnee County Health Department, said. “Compared to the positives that are occurring and the amount of testing that is going on we can’t sequence one hundred percent of the specimens.”

It’s too soon to tell if the numbers will spike from the Fourth of July weekend, but we do know that getting vaccinated helps limit further development of variants later down the road.

Vaccination and testing sites are still available across Shawnee County. To find those locations, click here.

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