COVID-19 hospitalizations increase over holiday weekend

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By Jessie Wagoner

 

While most families were celebrating the Christmas holiday over the weekend, others were spending the holiday in the hospital. McPherson County currently has 24 individuals hospitalized due to COVID-19. Since March, the county has seen 93 residents require hospital care. 

Shalei Shea, director of the McPherson County Health Department, released data Monday evening showing 1,001 active cases of COVID-19 in the county. There are now 26 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. Seven women and 19 men have died, ranging in age from 30 to 96. 

Between Dec. 14 and Dec. 27, a total of 618 people were tested for COVID-19. Of those tested, 341 tested positive, making the positivity rate for the county 55.17 percent.

The McPherson Fire Department has begun offering COVID-19 testing at the fire station. Community members call the fire station ahead of time, and an appointment is scheduled. They come to the station and complete the test, which is then sent to the lab at Wichita State University; results are returned within 24 to 48 hours. 

“It has been going fairly well,” TJ Wyssmann, fire chief, said. “We have had a pretty good response from the community. I’m hoping we get additional tests in before we run out, but we are going through our tests pretty quickly.”

Wyssmann said the fire department schedules patients every five minutes to test as many people as possible each day. To schedule an appointment, call 245-2505. 

“We have had some no shows,” Wyssmann said. “We would appreciate it if people call and make an appointment that they show up. It takes about five minutes.” 

Shea encourages McPherson County residents to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by: 

  • following Phase 2 of Reopening Kansas and McPherson County.
  • maintaining social distancing.
  • avoiding gatherings in groups greater than 15-persons.
  • wearing cloth face coverings or homemade masks when in public.
  • practicing cough etiquette and washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.