Uptick in COVID cases in Harvey County

Mark Schnabel

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After a short lull, Harvey County has seen a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Harvey County has had eight new cases of COVID-19 since last Tuesday and has a total of nine active cases.

“Some of those who have had close contact with individuals who have tested positive, and they now have symptoms and have tested positive themselves,” said Harvey County Health Department director Lynnette Redington Tuesday at her weekly briefing. “Three other individuals have contracted it from out-of-state visits.”

She said the range of those currently infected range from the teens to the 70s. One of those individuals is hospitalized.

“It’s often said this is a disease that affects our elderly, know that it affects everyone,” Redington said. “COVID-19 is not gone. COVID-19 is still very active. So everyone should be careful as you are out and about. I want to encourage you to do your daily lifestyle, but I will probably say a couple times today, ‘Wash your hands. I encourage you to wear a mask. And social distancing, keep a safe distance between you and others - at least six feet — so you can reduce transmission of the disease.”

Since the outbreak, Harvey County has had a total of 24 cases, with 13 recovered and two deaths (one directly attributed the virus). As of Tuesday, there have been 1,332 in the county tested.

Statewide, there have been 12,465 cases with 1,056 hospitalizations and 259 deaths.

Harvey County still trails Sedgwick County at 892, Reno County at 63, McPherson County at 50, Butler County at 51 and Marion County at nine.

Harvey County remains in the Phase Out phase of its COVID-19 recovery plan, reducing most restrictions on businesses and institutions.

“Many churches are now opening,” Redington said. “They are keeping more space in their pews. They are blocking off some of their pews. They are cleaning up very well afterward. We have heard from many of them and reviewed their plans. If you are doing a pot luck, make sure you have some hand sanitizer.”

She said there are no indications at this time that the county would need to step back in its recovery plan.

Two health facilities in the county are doing testing, with no requirement to show symptoms — Health Ministries in Newton and Hesston Pharmacy. Details are available on those facilities’ Web sites (https://signup.com/client/invitation2/secure/9670295581521720110/false#/invitation for Health Ministries. Testing is done without having to leave the car.)

Travel restrictions still exist to and from Maryland, Alabama, Arizona and Arkansas. Those who recently traveled to those states, as well as traveled internationally or on a cruise ship, are asked to quarantine for 14 days. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment will update the list on July 1. Seven states have been removed from that list.

An employee at a long-care health facility in Sedgwick, who also worked at other locations in another county, had tested positive, but Redington said no other positive cases have been detected.

Harvey County has several major events coming up as the Independence Day holiday arrives that will bring in a sizable number of visitors.

“Again, if you are not sitting with your main family unit, keep some space on the bleachers and others,” Redington said. “Bring a tent if you can. And don’t forget your sunscreen. Keep your hand sanitizer handy. Give each other room and use your mask.”