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Omicron detected in Barton County
Half of Kansans have completed the COVID-19 vaccine series
Coronavirus breaking news

Great Bend USD classes resume

Great Bend USD 428 teachers returned to work Monday and students returned Tuesday, ending the winter break that began Dec. 20, 2021. As of 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, there were six active cases reported in district buildings: two at Great Bend High School, one at Great Bend Middle School and three at Jefferson Elementary School.

USD 428 ended the school year with nine active COVID-19 cases, which have all been resolved. The district reports there have been 255 resolved cases since the start of the fall semester.

Barton County starts a new year with its first detected case of the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Over the course of the pandemic, Kansas has had 534,399 COVID-19 cases, resulting in 17,110 hospitalizations and 7,044 statewide deaths as of 9 a.m. Monday. There were 14,855 new cases, 146 new hospitalizations and 43 new deaths reported since Wednesday, Dec. 29.

With the start of 2022, Kansas has now tracked COVID-19 in all or part of three different years. By Dec. 30, 2020, there had been 222,433 cases from 105 counties with 2,741 deaths reported. Barton County had seen 2,201 cases.

By Dec. 29, 2021, there had been 519,544 cases (an additional 297,111) with 7,001 deaths (an additional 4,260). Barton County had seen 4,732 cases (an additional 2,531).

Area cases

Here are the total cases for area counties as of 9 a.m. Monday, with the change since Wednesday, Dec. 29:

• Barton 4,803 (+71) 

• Ellsworth 1,619 (+17)

• Pawnee 1,680 (+21)

• Rice 1,842 (+29)

• Rush 612 (+4)

• Russell 1,504 (+28)

• Stafford 861 (+9)

No new deaths were reported in these counties since Dec. 29.


The Great Bend Tribune also reports on COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Barton, Pawnee and Stafford counties. 

• As of 9 a.m. Monday, Barton County has reported 159 hospitalizations attributed to COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic, including 31 intensive care unit (ICU) admissions to date, and 106 discharged patients have been reported to KDHE. The median age of patients admitted in December was 60. These numbers were unchanged from Dec. 29, 2021.

• Pawnee County has reported 71 hospital admissions, 15 ICU admissions and 48 discharged patients to date. The median age of patients admitted in December was 60 years old. These numbers were unchanged.

• Stafford County has reported 35 hospital admissions, 14 ICU admissions and 19 discharged patients to date. This was an increase of one ICU admission since Dec. 29, 2021. The median age of patients admitted in December was 62.

Barton County and its adjoining counties fall into three Health Care Coalition regions for KDHE purposes. Barton, Pawnee, Rice and Stafford counties are in the South Central Kansas HCC, Rush and Russell counties are in the North West Kansas HCC and Ellsworth County is in the North Central Kansas HCC.

South Central - The region has 210 total staffed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in 10 reporting hospitals and 125 of those are in use, leaving 40% available. The hospitals have 211 ventilators and 78% are available. There are 126 COVID-19 patients and there are 407 available inpatient beds.

North West - The region has 18 staffed ICU beds in five reporting hospitals and 9 (50%) are available. The hospitals have 38 ventilators and 6 are in use, leaving 84% available. There are 24 COVID-19 patients admitted and 60 inpatient beds available.

North Central - The region has no staffed ICU beds in its two reporting hospitals. The hospitals have 3 ventilators and 100% of those are available. There are 2 COVID-19 patients admitted and 16 inpatient beds available.


As of 9 a.m. Monday, 1,853,537 Kansans have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 51.4% of Kansans have completed the COVID-19 vaccine series.

Here is the percentage of residents age 5 years and older that have completed the vaccine series in area counties:

Barton 47.38%

Ellsworth 54.94%

Pawnee 53.57%

Rice 44.35%

Rush 50.26%

Russell 45.82%

Stafford 47.68%