Barton County stands at 44 positive COVID-19 cases, and that number needed some explanation, Interim Health Director Karen Winkelman told the County Commission Monday morning.
“I felt like I needed to provide a little bit of background on the reporting of cases in regards to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Barton County,” she said. “I want to do this to be transparent as possible to the community.”
The numbers listed by the state and those listed by the county may be a little bit different, she said. “KDHE updates their homepage on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and that occurs before 12:30 p.m.”
They we never know exactly what time that will happen, but they assure county officials it’s before that time. “So, the data may not appear consistent with our local data, due to us erring on the side of caution in releasing information,” she said.
Winkelman said they try to release the totals as quickly as possible to protect the public and first responders.
An example of a discrepancy was on May, 22, which was the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. “We received nine additional positive cases,” she said.
That information was provided by the KDHE so the county acted on it quickly. “We had (isolation-quarantine) orders delivered that evening, and deputies were out after 9 p.m. getting those orders out.”
They were also sharing addresses with first responders. “With a long holiday weekend, we didn’t know exactly what we were in store for,” she said.
But, later in the week, the county received additional information from the state indicating three of those nine cases tested negative. So therefore they were not counted in Barton county numbers reflected on the KDHE website.
“So at this time, we continue to track and monitor the positive, as well as the possible cases,” Winkelman said. “And we try to get the information out as quickly as possible.”
Sunday night, May 31, Winkelman was notified of two more cases, bring the count up to 44 positives. Orders were issued and delivered.
In all, the changes removed three Great Bend women from the list and added one Great Bend woman back to it, along with one man from Ellinwood. There has still been only one virus-related death in Barton County, she said.
Working with the Barton County Sheriff’s Office, she has issued over 400 isolation-quarantine orders. Of those, nearly 100 remain active.
Her office has been working with the long-term care facility Medicalodges of Great Bend on an outbreak there. They did identify one more resident as a confirmed positive, bringing the total there to nine, including staff and residents.
Statewide, there are over 10,011 cases now positive in Kansas with 862 hospitalizations and 217 deaths as of Tuesday.