Two COVID-19 deaths in county raise total to 17; KU adds 10 new cases of COVID-19

photo by: Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health

Oct. 20 COVID-19 update from the health department.

Douglas County’s health department was notified Tuesday by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment of two COVID-19-related deaths of county residents that occurred in August.

Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health said in its daily update that it was notified on Tuesday of the two deaths because KDHE has been recently working on reconciliation of death records. George Diepenbrock, spokesperson for the health department, also said that the death announced on Friday by the health department occurred in September, and that KDHE notified the county of it on Friday.

Prior to Tuesday, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health had announced that 15 people — four residents between the ages of 65 and 74, one resident between the ages of 75 and 84 and 10 residents age 85 or older — had died from COVID-19 or with the virus as a contributing factor in their deaths.

The deaths reported on Tuesday bring the county’s death toll to 17. They were a man in the 85-plus age range and a woman in the 65 to 74 age range, Diepenbrock said. Diepenbrock did not have any information about whether these two people had been hospitalized prior to death.

Douglas County reported 2,753 cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday, an increase of 13 cases since Monday. Since the pandemic began, 51 Douglas County residents have been hospitalized because of COVID-19, Diepenbrock told the Journal-World on Monday. That means about 1.9% of residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 have been hospitalized.

In Douglas County, 2,441 out of the 2,753 cases are inactive or beyond the infectious period, according to Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, meaning 312 cases are active.

The county has averaged about 18 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 17.93 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.

Three patients at Lawrence’s hospital had COVID-19 on Tuesday, three fewer than Monday.

KU COVID-19 data

The University of Kansas on Tuesday confirmed 10 more cases of COVID-19 since it last released data on Friday, and the total case count now sits at 1,093.

KU confirmed 22 total cases in the most recent seven-day period where data is available, Oct. 12 to 18, but 12 of those cases overlapped with what was announced in Friday’s data update. The seven-day positive test rate was the lowest in such a reporting period since KU began releasing data — the 22 positives were out of a total of 1,262 tests, a rate of 1.7%.

KU also reports on Douglas County’s rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 county residents in its updates. That metric fell again on Tuesday, after being as high as 156 per 100,000 earlier in October. It now sits at 83 cases per 100,000 residents. That’s also one of the lowest rates the metric has seen since KU started including it in its biweekly dashboard updates.

KU currently has 71 students confirmed to be isolating or quarantining due to COVID-19, also down from recent updates. Eighteen students are in isolation, meaning they tested positive for the virus, and 53 students are in quarantine, meaning they came in close contact with a confirmed positive case.

KU will next release data, as well as a new short-term forecast from its Pandemic Medical Advisory Team, on Friday.


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