New COVID-19 death in county raises total to 15; KU adds 12 new cases of COVID-19

photo by: Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health

Oct. 16 COVID-19 update from the health department.

One more Douglas County resident has died from COVID-19, according to the health department’s Friday update about the virus.

Previously, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health announced that 14 people — four residents between the ages of 65 and 74, one resident between the ages of 75 and 84 and nine residents age 85 or older — had died from COVID-19 or with the virus as a contributing factor in their deaths.

This week’s death was a male in the 85-plus age range, health department spokesperson George Diepenbrock said. Diepenbrock said the person had been hospitalized prior to, but not at the time of, death. LMH Health’s Friday update did not include any additional inpatient deaths due to COVID-19.

Douglas County reported 2,689 cases of COVID-19 as of Friday, an increase of 8 cases since Thursday.

The county has averaged about 19 new cases per day over the last 14 days, according to a 14-day moving average graph updated weekdays by the health department. The current average of 19 new cases per day is down from a high of 46 cases per day in early September and up from a recent low of nine cases per day in early August.

In Douglas County, 2,364 out of the 2,689 cases are inactive or beyond the infectious period, according to Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, meaning 325 cases are active.

Four patients at Lawrence’s hospital had COVID-19 on Friday, one more than Thursday. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s online map noted that 32,174 Douglas County residents had been tested for the disease so far. The county’s testing rate per 1,000 people was 263.2.

In its weekly community scorecard, Douglas County hit three out of its five goals over the past week. Both the average weekly number of COVID-19 cases and the number of active COVID-19 cases remained stable instead of decreasing, which is the county’s goal. The county did hit the following goals: only one high-risk outbreak was reported and less than 40% of beds and 20% of ventilators were in use at LMH Health.

KU COVID-19 data

The University of Kansas has confirmed 12 more cases of COVID-19 since data was last released Wednesday, bringing the school’s cumulative case total to 1,083.

From Oct. 8 to Oct. 14, the most recent seven-day period for which data is available, KU confirmed 34 cases of COVID-19 from a total of 1,243 tests, a positive rate of 2.7%. This data overlaps slightly with the seven-day period covered by Wednesday’s update, Oct. 5-11, as 22 of the 34 cases in Wednesday’s update were previously confirmed.

The number of KU students confirmed to be in isolation, meaning they tested positive for the respiratory virus, dropped by two from Wednesday’s update. On Wednesday, 27 students were confirmed to be in isolation, and by Friday the number dropped to 25. The number of KU students in quarantine, meaning they came in close contact with a confirmed positive case, dipped from 67 on Wednesday to 59 Friday.

The overall number of KU students sequestered due to COVID-19 decreased from 94 to 84.

Douglas County, which tracks the rate of positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in KU’s dashboard updates, reported a metric decrease Friday. On Wednesday, that rate was 119 cases per 100,000 residents, and on Friday it fell to 90 cases per 100,000 residents.

Another metric in Friday’s update was the percentage of patients exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 ultimately testing positive for the virus at KU’s two symptomatic test centers. One of those is at Watkins Health Center, the on-campus health care provider, where 8 people tested positive from a total of 45 nasal swab test orders — a positive rate of 17.8%. That’s down from Wednesday’s update when 20.8% of patients tested positive.

This metric does come with the caveat that some swab orders might not yet have confirmed results. KU previously told the Journal-World that the average turnaround time for results from swab tests was between three and seven days, so some of the results might not have come back in time to be recorded in the public dashboard updates.

The second symptomatic test clinic KU offers is located in the parking lot of Naismith Hall, 1800 Naismith Drive, where 16 people out of 77 tests conducted were positive, according to Friday’s update. That 20.8% positive rate is up from Wednesday, where 25 people tested positive out of 125 total tests, a rate of 20%.

KU on Friday also released a new short-term forecast from its Pandemic Medical Advisory Team. The university’s model projects that in two weeks — in this case, by Oct. 30 — KU’s daily case count will sit at around five new cases per day. In previous weeks, this metric had predicted around six cases per day.

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