By Jessie Wagoner
McPherson County continues to see new cases of COVID-19 in the community. As of press time, there are 17 active cases of COVID-19, including one child under the age of five.
Shalei Shea, director of the McPherson County Health Department, has provided updated data regarding the 160 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county. Of the 160 cases, 17 are currently active and recovering at home, one individual has died and the remainder have met recovery guidelines.
Sixteen of the total cases were asymptomatic. Ten of the individuals had to be hospitalized at some point during their illness, and four of those were ventilated for a period of time. Fifty-seven of the cases had unknown exposure. Shea advises the most common age group for infection has been individuals between the ages of 18 and 29 years old with 45 cases falling in that age range. Individuals over the age of 60 account for 36 of the cases, and there have been 14 cases involving children under the age of 18.
County health officials as well as the Kansas Department of Health and Environment continue to recommend social distancing, regular hand washing and wearing a mask when social distancing cannot occur. The county remains in Phase Three of the reopening plan.
“McPherson County Health Department recommends McPherson County remains in Phase Three at least until Aug. 17, 2020,” Shea said. “This decision extends Phase Three by two incubation periods and is based off the positive cases with unknown exposure and the continuous increase in new cases. Extending it by four weeks instead of two will allow businesses and communities to plan for additional precautions beyond a two-week interval.”