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Pawnee Co. COVID update

LARNED  — The latest Pawnee County COVID-19 figures provided by the county health department show 1,109 cases, including 27 cases within the past 14 days and eight cases within the past seven days, as of Tuesday, Feb. 2. Community case total (excluding Larned State Hospital, individuals in long term care and Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility) is 579. The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Pawnee County is 11. The total number of active cases is seven.

Pawnee County is currently at Level Orange, which represents a substantial controlled risk category, on the county COVID risk assessment. The county has spent the past several months at Level Red which is classified as a substantial uncontrolled risk. The two other categories on the risk assessment include Level Green (no to minimal risk) and Level Yellow (minimal to moderate risk). The assessment, adopted by county commissioners in late November, is a tool to help the community gage the relative risk of COVID-19 spread in Pawnee County.

This is only a guideline. Other factors (i.e., surrounding county spread, certain hot spots, etc.) may change the risk level after discussion with the local health officials. An increase in the absenteeism rate in local schools could trigger conversations with local health officials regarding next steps. This matrix does not include congregate populations — that is, residents at the state hospital, nursing homes and prison populations. Increased hospitalizations could also trigger collaborations with local health officials. 

Vaccination efforts continue in the county, according to Health Director Cheryl Hoberecht.

“We have been giving the vaccine as we receive it,” Hoberecht said. “People who wish to be placed on the vaccination list can contact us at the health department, preferably by messaging us on Facebook.”

She said phone calls directly to the health department can slow the vaccine delivery time. Hoberecht added that the county is following the distribution phases as issued by Gov. Laura Kelly. She noted that Pawnee County residents will receive priority.

“We’re urging folks to be patient if they are on the list,” said Hoberecht. “We will call them when vaccines are available.” According to Hoberecht, 300 first-time vaccinations in Pawnee County have been administered while 30 individuals have received the second dose.