By Anne Hassler Heidel
Cautiously optimistic is the best way to describe local health officials’ outlook on the current COVID-19 situation in McPherson County. Vaccination rates in the county have reached 45.6% for residents over the age of 18 and 77.3% for residents 65 and older. A total of 10,123 individuals are fully vaccinated in McPherson County, according to the Centers for Disease Control. McPherson County Health Department Director Shalei Shea expects the overall vaccination rate to rise as the vaccine is approved for ages 12-15 this week.
Positive COVID-19 tests have dropped to just 10 cases in the last seven days in McPherson County, with only one current hospitalization. Local governments, including the City of McPherson and the City of Lindsborg, have dropped their mask mandates.
Shea, who gave an update to the county commission on Monday, said the number of new vaccinations inquiries has dropped off, but there are multiple options for receiving a vaccine, including clinics, pharmacies and the health department.
The health department is now focused on using the $242,000 grant money awarded by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. She requested approval to use the funds for $5,915 in new office furniture and an additional $3,000 compensation for the health department’s medical consultant Sheila Gorman, M.D.
In other commission business:
- A public hearing was held for the Community Development Block Grant application by the City of Roxbury. The grant will be used to replace the pumps in a sewer lift station at a cost of $316,118.
- The commission approved two new hires: Jacob Pearson as a new deputy in the sheriff’s office and Julietta Marquez in the county treasurer department.