Finney County Health Department reports 11 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases

Finney County commissioners were updated on the status of COVID-19 within the county at Monday’s regular commission meeting.

Deyna Ontiveros, a registered nurse with the Finney County Health Department, said there were 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the county, but the health department later reported an 11th positive case on its website.

Of the 10 cases Ontiveros mentioned, six are female and four are male of varying ages.

"I would say the majority are over (50), but there are some in the younger ages, in their 20s and early to mid 30s," she said.

The cases are related to each other, Ontiveros said.

"It’s one case and then all their contacts and then there’s all these contacts to each one," she said. "That’s where the numbers are coming from."

Travel is how the virus came to Finney County, Ontiveros said. The cases entered the county via locals who have traveled to a city or county with a high community spread and then brought it back with them.

Ontiveros said they have had issues with people not complying with quarantine orders to stay at home.

"That has been a challenge this far," she said.

Another challenge is the limited amount of testing supplies, Ontiveros said. But they are doing what they can to continue testing and to investigate cases.

"We have all heard the rapid testing methods are coming out. We currently do not have that, but we are fortunate our turnaround time is a lot better through the state vs. the private labs," she said. "The results come in within 72 hours, sometimes sooner."

Stephen Green, Finney County Emergency Management director, said the county is going through a lot of PPE, but has gotten some support from the state.

"As of (Sunday) we’ve gotten three vans of PPE consisting of suits, masks, gloves, things of that nature, so we’ll be disseminating those out real soon," he said.

Green said they have also received donations of PPE from the community and interdepartmental sectors.

"We’ve been disseminating it out to the hospital ... to adult center, home health care companies and we’ve even went as far as to disseminate it out to veterinarians and animal clinics," he said.

Green also voiced that there are a lot of rumors going around that are untrue and are trying to contain them.

One of the rumors is that area hospitals are overfilled with COVID-19 cases.

Ontiveros said that is untrue.

"The hospitals are fine around our areas, but they’re small hospitals, so one or two or even three cases is a major worry for our area," she said. "It doesn’t take a lot to overwhelm our smaller hospitals."

The reason why a small number of cases can be problematic is because the hospitals still have to take care of patients with non-COVID019-related illnesses.

Commissioner Dave Jones said he is concerned about the Health Department no longer putting out releases about confirmed COVID-19 cases because not everyone has access to a computer and the health department’s website, where they are updating the number of cases.

Ontiveros said they can look into "other avenues of possibly getting that out there."

Colleen Drees, Finney County Health Department director, said the health department wants to be a trusted source of information, but there’s only so much they can do to control some of the rumors in the community. She said the department will do its best to be transparent.