COVID cluster identified at McPherson County Jail

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By Jessie Wagoner

 

Ten individuals at the McPherson County Jail have been diagnosed with COVID-19. This led the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to declare the jail as a COVID cluster.

KDHE defines a cluster as any location which has five or more COVID cases. There are currently 16 active clusters throughout the state, including schools, long-term care facilities, jails and sporting events. KDHE updates the cluster list each week.

While 10 cases of COVID in the county can be attributed to the jail, there is a total of 118 active cases throughout McPherson County. Of those cases, three people are hospitalized, and the remainder are recovering at home. The county has reported 90 total deaths at this time.

Vaccination rates in the county remain low, with only 46.7 percent of the county population vaccinated. Vaccination rates among healthcare workers in area nursing homes also remains low. Since the state began tracking the vaccination rates among healthcare workers, there has been little increase in the number of employees vaccinated in the county.

Moundridge Manor has the highest staff vaccination rate at 85 percent. McPherson Operator, LLC, also known as McPherson Care Center, has the lowest staff vaccination rate at 16 percent.

Hospitalization rates across the state have increased. According to Shalei Shea, director of the McPherson County Health Department, McPherson County is not immune to this trend and is also seeing an increase in hospitalizations.

“Hospitalization frequency has also increased in comparison to previous months,” Shea said. “It is pertinent those who are eligible get vaccinated, individuals stay home when sick and individuals take necessary precautions when gathering. McPherson County Health Department (MCHD) recommends all individuals 2 years old and above mask in indoor settings when six-foot distance cannot be maintained while community transmission is high.”

McPherson Center for Health announced that booster Pfizer COVID vaccine doses are available at McPherson Medical and Surgical Associates at 1000 Hospital Drive for clinic patients who are over 65 and for adults with underlying medical conditions. You can access the website at https://www.kansasvaccine.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=23 to see if you are eligible, and, if so, please call the clinic at 620-241-7400 to schedule your vaccine.

These boosters are only for people who have had two doses of the Pfizer vaccine with the last dose received at least six months ago. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are not authorizing boosters at this time. People who have received monoclonal antibodies (Bamlanivimab or Regen-COV) also are not eligible until 90 days after that treatment.

Individuals who have completed the two-dose series of Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and meet the following criteria are eligible for a third additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine: 

  • Active treatment for solid tumor or hematologic malignancies 
  • Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy 
  • Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within two years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy) 
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge, Wiskott-Aldrich syndromes) 
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e. greater than or equal to 20 mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, TNF blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory

Contact your primary care physician or the McPherson County Health Department to schedule a vaccine appointment.