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State revises some death counts
covid-19 Barton

The total number of deaths related to COVID-19 in Kansas was adjusted downward last week, from 4,851 on Wednesday, March 10, to 4,824 on Friday, March 12, or 27 fewer, according to numbers released by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. On Monday, Barton County’s COVID-19 death toll was adjusted from 48 to 46 and Pawnee County’s was adjusted from 14 to 13.

The KDHE explained that the decrease in deaths is attributed to the review of death certificates. “Deaths initially reported to KDHE/Local Health Departments as COVID-19 related were identified during the review process as not having COVID-19 as the main cause or contributing cause of death. This is a normal process that occurs.”

Great Bend USD 428 reports no active cases as of March 11. There have been 171 total cases during the pandemic and 171 have recovered. The last report of a positive COVID-19 case in the school district was on Feb. 22, when a student at Great Bend High School tested positive.

Nearly one in five Kansans have now received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment reports. As of Monday morning, 19.5% of the population - 567,801 people - had been vaccinated with one dose and an additional 287,021 people had received a second dose. Approximately 9.9% of Kansans have completed the COVID-19 vaccine series (one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two doses of vaccines manufactured by Pfizer or Moderna).

The numbers represent the number of people vaccinated as a fraction of the total population, 2.913 million. It is important to note that not all Kansans are eligible for vaccination, such as Phase 3 recipients and individuals younger than 16 years old. However, Gov. Laura Kelly announced on Monday that the state will move to Phase 3 and 4 of the Kansas COVID-19 vaccination plan on Monday, March 22.

Closer to home

Barton County’s last vaccination clinic was held Saturday, March 13, and the weather was a factor, Health Director Karen Winkelman told the County Commissioner Monday morning. Even though it was rainy and cold, her staff vaccinated a total of 703 people, 288 of those being first doses and 415 being second doses.

“So I think we were very successful,” she said. 

They started giving the first doses at 1 p.m., an hour earlier than planned, because of the weather. “We just wanted to get them through so there was not any waiting,” Winkelman said.

For this week, Barton County has been allocated 500 first doses; Rice County has been allocated 200 doses; Ellsworth, Rush and Russell counties have been allocated 100 doses; and Pawnee and Stafford counties have been allocated zero doses.

The rate of people vaccinated by county of residence as reported in KS WebIZ shows 21.5% of Barton County residents. Rice county had the lowest rate in the area, 14.8%, and Pawnee County had the highest at 30.3%

As of March 11, the Barton County Health Department had received 6,804 cumulative doses from the manufacturer or distributor, plus 200 doses that were transferred in. Clara Barton Hospital and Clinics received 250 doses and Ellinwood District Hospital received 60 doses in addition to any received from the health department. Pawnee County Health Department had received 1,660 doses, including 60 transferred in, while Pawnee Valley Community Hospital had received  330 but transferred 42 doses out to other sources. Larned State Hospital had received 600 doses. "Cumulative doses" refers to the period since the immunization program started on Dec. 14, 2020.

Case totals

Over the course of the pandemic, Kansas has had 298,218 COVID-19 cases, resulting in 9,519 hospitalizations and 4,835 statewide deaths as of Monday morning. There were 470 new cases, 11 new deaths and 16 new hospitalizations reported since Friday, March 12. There was a drop in total reported death numbers between last Wednesday and last Friday, from 4,851 on March 10 and 4,824 (27 fewer) on March 12.

Here are the totals as of Monday morning for area counties, first of confirmed or probable cases by residence, followed by total deaths:

• Barton 2,528 cases (+8 since Friday), 46 deaths (-2)

• Ellsworth 1,213 (+0), 25 (+0)

• Pawnee 1,142 (+0), 13 (-1)

• Rice 1,062 (+0), 12 (+0)

• Rush 428 (+1), 14 (+0)

• Russell 850 (+1), 27 (+0)

• Stafford 334 (+0), 9 (+0)