Riley County health officials urge common sense as holiday weekend approaches


MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – There is growing concern across Kansas as new COVID-19 variants begin to be detected in the state. One variant in particular is especially contagious according to Renee Lucas, the Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at the Riley County Health Department.

“The Delta variant has a higher susceptibility, it is going to be transmitted more easily, and so it is really important [to know] that you can get it even if you are fully vaccinated, vaccines help but you know vaccines don’t prevent every illness,” Lucas said.

But even though some COVID-19 cases have been “breakthrough cases,” meaning that the patients who tested positive were fully vaccinated, Lucas noted that those who had received the vaccine have milder symptoms.

Even if you are vaccinated, it is important to note that the symptoms of the new Delta variant could be different than those of the original strain of COVID-19.

“Symptoms that we have been seeing in the Delta variant are runny nose and sore throat, most people could attribute those to allergies, so it is just really difficult to know but also to know that is what we are seeing,” Lucas said.

The Riley County Health Department is also working to identify these variants faster so that they can track cases.

“Now we are seeing that just not vaccine breakthroughs but there is quite a bit of transmissibility with the delta variant so now we are trying to test anybody who tests positive especially with us, we can save them that extra trip by testing them they test positive to say, ‘hey, do you mind if we do a genome sequencing to find out what strain you might have,” Lucas added.

With the Fourth of July weekend right around the corner, Lucas is reminding people to play it smart this coming weekend.

“I think that people should really just be aware of who they are around, I know some people don’t like to ask hey what is your vaccination status, so that is ok don’t ask that but take the extra precautions maybe mask up especially if you are around people you don’t know if you are in tight spaces, try to stay outside enjoying the fresh air,” Lucas said.

RCHD also says that it is important to take the steps that we all have heard since the beginning, wash your hands regularly, keep appropriate social distance when necessary, and get vaccinated to lessen the risk of potentially getting or spreading COVID-19.

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