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GB person fifth COVID-19 case in county
Governor extends stay-at-home order to May 3
laura kelly mug
Laura Kelly

Barton County has reported its fifth positive case of COVID-19; this in an individual from Great Bend, Barton County Public Information Officer Donna Zimmerman said Wednesday morning. The announcement came the same day Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed a new executive order extending the stay-at-home order to May 3 as cases of COVID-19 continue to mount in the state. 

As of Thursday afternoon, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 1,588 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 359 hospitalizations and 80 deaths from the virus.

The numbers for counties that share a border with Barton remain unchanged: one confirmed case in Stafford County and zero in Ellsworth, Pawnee, Rice, Russell and Rush counties.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has now defined “probable” cases for tracking purposes, Zimmerman said. Probable cases are those who have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case and symptomatic within 14 days of contact. 

Barton County also reports we have two probable cases, one in rural Great Bend and one from Hoisington, she said.

“This does not mean that unidentified cases do not exist elsewhere in the county and precautions should be taken by all residents of the county in all areas,” Zimmerman said.  

“We continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate action, including the issuance of quarantine/isolation orders,” she said. To date, 56 quarantine/isolation orders have been served in various locations in the county by the Barton County Sheriff’s Office with more to be served by Thursday. 

“This is a very serious and sometimes deadly virus,” she said. “We strongly encourage the public to take this pandemic seriously by practicing social distancing and staying home.”

Zimmerman said they will continue to provide further information as it becomes available.

The governor’s action

Kelly’s previous stay-at-home order put in place on March 28th was set to end on Sunday. 

“Unfortunately, cases continue to increase, and new counties continue to have confirmed cases,” Kelly said in her in her daily afternoon COVID-19 news conference Wednesday from the Statehouse in Topeka. “Internal and external modeling predict a peak somewhere between the 19th and the 29th of April.”

Stay-at-home orders mean people, by and large, should not leave their homes except for essential business — work, grocery shopping, seeking medical care or taking care of family or friends who are in need. People can exercise outside, but cannot gather in groups larger than 10, a restriction that includes church services and funerals.

Kelly said she understands the hardships on Kansas families and businesses. She is working within the state and with neighboring states Missouri and Colorado to open the economy up as quickly as possible.

“We believe a regional approach will reduce confusion and help keep our communities safe on both sides of the state line,” she said. I’ve also begun conversations with Gov. Jared Polis, from Colorado, to coordinate efforts for western Kansas.”  

All states but Nebraska that surround Kansas have either statewide stay-at-home orders or partial ones. 

The governor said the earliest that the schools would open would be in August.

Kelly said she understands the need of small businesses and restaurants to reopen. But, “if we do rush it, we will end up doing more harm, whereas, if we take it slowly, cautiously, we’ll all be better off in the long run.”  

Under the extended order, Kansas residents are asked to stay at home with some exceptions:

• Obtaining food, medicine and other household necessities;

• Going to and from work at a business or organization performing an essential function as identified in the Kansas Essential Function Framework;

• Seeking medical care;

• Caring for children, family members or pets, or caring for a vulnerable person in another location;

• Engaging in an outdoor activity, provided individuals maintain a distance of six feet from one another and abide by the 10-person limitation on gathering size.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, chills, rigors, myalgia, malaise, headache, sore throat, lower respiratory illness (shortness of breath or difficulty breathing) and now may include olfactory and taste disorders.

Refer to the KDHE website for additional information and statewide statistics at