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Area schools closed for COVID concerns
More than half of Barton County not vaccinated against COVID-19
Living with covid - Tribune.jpg

Due to COVID-19 concerns, Central Plains USD 112 did not hold classes this week, starting an early Thanksgiving break. All activities and practices were canceled as well.

This follows news from last week that Pawnee Height USD 496 had canceled classes as of Wednesday, Nov. 17, also due to COVID-19 cases.

Both school districts were scheduled to send high school students to Jack Kilby STEM Day at Barton Community College on Monday but had to cancel.

Everyone will return to school on Monday, Nov. 29.


The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported Monday that 46% of Barton County residents age 12 years and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This means the county ranks 84th out of 105 Kansas counties, where 1 has the highest percentage of fully vaccinated residents and 105 has the lowest. The county’s overall COVID ranking is 81, where No. 1 is the least at-risk for COVID and Nov. 105 is the most at-risk county. The overall ranking combines vaccination rate, case rate and COVID testing rate.

Barton County has the lowest vaccination rate in the Golden Belt.

Geary County is No. 1 for vaccinated residents, with 79%, and its overall ranking is 4.

Graham County is ranked No. 1 overall; with 78% of its residents vaccinated, it ranks No. 3 in that category.

In Pawnee County, 55% of those 12 and older are fully vaccinated, earning a ranking of 31. Pawnee County’s overall ranking is 56.

Stafford County is 50% vaccinated, ranking 65, and its overall ranking is also 65.

To date, Kansas has had 458,221 COVID-19 cases to date, resulting in 15,490 hospitalizations and 6,643 deaths statewide as of 9 a.m. Monday. There were 2,431 new cases, 37 new hospitalizations and nine new deaths reported since Friday, Nov. 19.

Area cases

There were no new deaths for area counties.

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

• Barton 4,243 (+39)

• Ellsworth 1,458 (+7)

• Pawnee 1,561 (+3)

• Rice 1,539 (+8)

• Rush 549 (+2)

• Russell 1,279 (+11)

• Stafford 709 (+7)

Hospitalizations as of Monday

Barton County has reported 143 hospitalizations attributed to COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic, an increase of one since last Friday. The number of intensive care unit (ICU) admissions remained unchanged at 30. The number of discharged patients reported to KDHE is 98, up two from Nov. 19. The median age of Barton County patients admitted so far this month is 56.

Pawnee County has reported 67 hospital admissions, an increase of one since Nov. 19. The total 14 ICU admissions and 47 discharged patients to date have not changed. The median age of Pawnee County patients admitted so far this month is 62.

Stafford County has reported 26 hospitalizations, 10 ICU admissions and 17 discharged patients. These numbers were unchanged from Nov. 17. That means there has been one hospital admission this month and the median age of Stafford County patients admitted so far this month is 12.

Great Bend USD 428

Great Bend USD 428 released its weekly COVID-19 report Monday. There were 18 active positive cases, compared to 20 last week. For the semester, there have been 200 resolved cases. Here are the total active and resolved cases for the semester by building as of 11:45 a.m. Monday, with (changes) from last week:

• GBHS 5 (-1) - 55 (+6)

• GBMS 2 (-2) - 31 (+3)

• Eisenhower 3 (+1) - 36

• Little Panthers Preschool 0 - 3

• Jefferson 0 - 19

• Lincoln 3 (+2) - 20 (+2)

• Park 2 - 12

• Riley 3 (-1) - 16 (+2)

• District Education Center 0 - 1

• Helping Hands Preschool 0 (-1) - 2 (+1)

• Special Services 0 - 3

• Central Kitchen 0 - 2