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COVID-19 deaths in Kansas top 7,000
Flags lowered to half-staff
governor kelly coronavirus
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly addresses a news conference in Topeka in a file photo. She continued to urge preparedness to deal with the coronavirus this week. Kansas has now reported 7,001deaths attributed to COVID-19.

The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Kansas surpassed 7,000 this week, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports.

As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, there have been 519,544 cases to date, resulting in 16,964 hospitalizations and 7,001 statewide deaths. There were 7,083 new cases, 118 new hospitalizations and 37 new deaths reported since Monday, Dec. 27. There were no new deaths reported in Barton County and its adjoining counties.

Medicalodges of Great Bend was again on the weekly cluster list. Every Wednesday, KDHE publishes locations that have five or more COVID-19 cases with symptom onset in the last 14 days. The long-term care facility has had 20 cases in the last 14 days, with the last onset date on Dec. 22.

The Great Bend Tribune also reports on COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Barton, Pawnee and Stafford counties. These numbers have not changed since last week.

Flags lowered

In honor of the more than 7,000 lives lost due to COVID-19, and the families they left behind, Governor Laura Kelly directed flags be lowered to half-staff throughout the state effective immediately to sundown Friday, December  31, 2021. 

“It is with great sadness that I am ordering flags to half-staff for the seventh time since the pandemic began,” Governor Kelly said. “We have the tools to stop this virus and prevent further unnecessary deaths of our loved ones. Whether you are considering your first shot, or your third, I urge all Kansans to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

KDHE and KDOR urge Kansans to be alert for text phishing scams

KDHE and the Kansas Department of Revenue urge Kansans to be alert for text messages that claim to represent KDHE and KDOR. These unsolicited messages may be phishing scams, and people should not open the links or respond to such texts.

The text messages say, “Kansas Covid-19 Vaccine Driver License Waiver Validation - Validate your detail below,” and provide a link ending with com and the tag Department of Health - State of Kansas.

State agencies will not send unsolicited text messages requesting vaccination status, social security number or other sensitive information. Additionally, all KDHE and KDOR websites end with a gov suffix, Websites with endings such as .com or .org are not legitimate, and Kansans should not click them.

Area cases

Here are the total cases for area counties as of 9 a.m. Wednesday, with the change since Monday:

• Barton 4,732 (+28) 

• Ellsworth 1,602 (+11)

• Pawnee 1,659 (+16)

• Rice 1,813 (+16)

• Rush 608 (+7)

• Russell 1,476 (+18)

• Stafford 852 (+7)