Case numbers still rising as vaccine begins to be distributed

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By Jessie Wagoner

 

COVID-19 vaccinations continue throughout McPherson County in an effort to combat rising case numbers. 

Shalei Shea, director of the McPherson County Health Department, provided updated data regarding COVID-19 in McPherson County on Tuesday evening. As of press time, McPherson County has a total of 2,730 cases of COVID-19. Of those cases, 1,524 have met recovery guidelines or passed away. There are currently 1,206 active cases, with 18 hospitalizations and 44 confirmed deaths related to COVID-19. 

Currently, McPherson County remains in Phase Two of the reopening Kansas plan. McPherson Public Schools have begun classes following the hybrid model, with elementary students attending half days of school. They hope to transition to a full face-to-face model next week as long as staffing can be maintained. 

“After discussing with key healthcare partners in our communities, we feel it’s best to extend Phase Two at least two more weeks due to continued demand and strain on our healthcare systems,” Shea said. “Our testing positivity rate has gone down, which is great, but it still needs to keep moving that direction before we feel comfortable with moving to Phase Three.”

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly released the vaccination disbursement schedule for the state late last week. McPherson County is currently in Phase One of the vaccination schedule, meaning healthcare workers, first responders and elder care facilities are receiving vaccines as they are available.

“First responders were able to get vaccinated this first round,” Shea said. “Because of our community size, a lot of our first responders, like law enforcement and fire department crews, wear many hats and respond to medical emergencies if able. Communities across the state were able to gauge what level of ‘healthcare associated worker’ their first responders are, and since we are a medium-sized county, we felt like it was appropriate to include first responders as long as we were able to get through the more frontline healthcare staff at clinics and hospitals, for example.”

Shea has advised Long term care facilities and nursing homes had the choice to opt-in to the national pharmacy program where they would be vaccinated through an assigned pharmacy.

“I believe CVS and Walgreens were the two available to McPherson County facilities,” Shea said. “I have heard that vaccine has been provided to a few facilities, but I’m not sure which ones or how many are left at this point.” 

The Cedars has announced they began the first of the two vaccine process for their residents and employees this week. Pleasant View Home in Inman was excited to announce they began vaccinating employees and residents last week.