Allen County officially topped more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases this week, as new cases appeared to subside slightly.
The county has now reported 1,016 positive cases since the start of the pandemic. Fourteen county residents have died from COVID-19-related complications.
The pace of new cases has eased, though, with 55 current cases as of Thursday evening. In recent weeks, the number of current cases typically hovered close to 100.
Still, the county’s top public health official warned that precautions like mask wearing, social distancing and quarantines after contact with infected persons is still needed.
“I recommend we continue to follow the mitigation path we’ve been on and continue to wear masks, even after being vaccinated,” Rebecca Johnson, director of the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Departments, said in a press release Thursday morning.
She pointed to the discovery of “an emerging variant,” first identified in the United Kingdom, that has now been found in an Ellis County resident.
Viruses like COVID-19 can mutate rapidly and often.
The UK variant was first reported in the US in December 2020. Evidence indicates this particular variant spreads much more rapidly through the population, which could rapidly increase the number of hospitalizations and deaths, though more studies are needed to confirm.