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Stafford County reports zero COVID-19 cases
New variants may fuel winter surge
coronavirus cdc

For the first time in several weeks, Stafford County’s weekly new case rate was ranked “low,” with zero new COVID-19 cases reported for the period starting Oct. 15 and ending Oct. 21, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported Wednesday. The weekly cumulative incidence rate does not include the most recent five days as data is expected to be incomplete.

Barton, Ellsworth, Pawnee and Rush counties showed a “substantial” new case rate, meaning 50-99 cases per 100,000 people, and Rice and Russell counties showed a “high” rate, 100 or more cases per 100,000.

Here are the new case numbers and rates for area counties:

• Barton 20 cases (77.6 per 100,000)

• Ellsworth, 4 (65.6)

• Pawnee, 6 (93.5)

• Rice, 16 (167.8)

• Rush, 2 (65.9)

• Russell 8 (116.7)

• Stafford, 0

There were 2,107 new cases of COVID-19 and five new related deaths reported statewide for the period of Wednesday, Oct. 19, to 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26, according to the latest update from the KDHE.

COVID-19 wave expected

New strains of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are starting a wave of new cases in Europe that is expected to hit the United States this fall and winter, according to Andrea Garcia, JD, MPH, the American Medical Association’s vice president of Science, Medicine and Public Health.

Americans could face a “tripledemic” threat given cases of flu, COVID and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) on the rise.

“It’s really too early to tell right now exactly how infectious these new (Omicron) variants are but we are seeing them spread pretty quickly,” Garcia told AMA Update. “And the strains are likely to be more contagious than the previous versions of the virus. And that, of course, raises the odds of a surge in cases and hospitalizations over the winter when we know people are gathering indoors, and that, of course, makes that virus easier to spread.”