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Update on Barton County & Ellsworth Correctional Facility COVID cases

Health officials have released reports of new COVID-19 cases in Barton County and at Ellsworth Correctional Facility. This story updates the story posted online on Wednesday, adding 5 new Barton County cases reported Thursday.

Barton County Public Information Director Donna Zimmerman reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, both males who reside in Hoisington.

Five more cases were reported Thursday afternoon, four males and one female. One resides in Great Bend, three in Hoisington and one in rural Barton County. This brings the total number of positive cases reported in Barton County to 104.

Information from Barton County shows there have been 52 males and 52 females who tested positive since the pandemic began. There are 32 active cases and there have been three deaths attributed to COVID-19.

Barton County has issued 1,068 quarantine or isolation orders and 165 of those are still active.

Location (by residence) and number of positive cases

Claflin - 3

Ellinwood - 13

Great Bend - 67

Hoisington - 9

Olmitz - 1

Rural Barton County - 11

The Barton County Health Department continues to identify close contacts of the individuals of each positive case. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet for a prolonged period (10 minutes or longer) or having direct contact with infectious secretions. BCHD will actively monitor the close contacts for 14 days for symptoms. The public can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing and infection control.

ECF cases

Two males residing at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility have also tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement issued Wednesday by Kansas Department of Corrections Secretary Jeff Zmuda.

Earlier in the month, a staff member at ECF was identified as positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing occurred and mass testing took place in the living unit that had been exposed to the identified staff member. In total, 163 residents were tested. 

The residents at ECF are in their 40s and 50s. Both men are asymptomatic. In order to protect their identities, no other information will be released. Mandatory mask protocol for staff was implemented on May 6 and for residents on July 6.

The KDOC has been in consultation with officials from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) on next steps to address these circumstances. As a result of that consultation, the following steps were implemented:

• Both men and two additional men, who were roommates of those who tested positive, were moved to Lansing Correctional Facility (LCF) to be in a more modern facility that is better equipped to control the spread of the virus.

• Additional testing will take place at ECF as officials continue to work to control the spread.

• KDOC will remain diligent in monitoring other staff and residents for symptoms.

“We are so thankful for the continued support of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Their staff respond quickly to ensure that we are helping keep these men healthy and safe,” Zmuda said. “We are glad to report that both men are asymptomatic and are hopeful they’ll be able to return to Ellsworth soon.”

The Ellsworth Correctional Facility opened in 1988. Serving only males, the Central Unit provides housing for 820 multi-custody residents and the East Unit provides housing for 95 minimum-custody residents.

For information on the KDOC’s response to COVID-19, visit



For current information on COVID-19 in Kansas, and to sign up for updates, go to the KDHE COVID-19 Resource Center at

Statewide, KDHE reports there have been 26,870 cases, resulting in 1,700 hospitalizations and 349 deaths. A COVID-19 death is defined as a person with COVID-19 and a death certificate that lists COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death of a significant condition contributing to death. The median age of those so listed in 78 years. The youngest was 20 and the oldest was 99 years old.