National Guard to assist testing in Finney County

The Finney County Health Department and Finney County Emergency Management are working closely with Tyson Foods in Holcomb, after the identification of a cluster of positive cases at the plant.


The individuals are complying with all the necessary quarantine mandates, and Tyson Foods has enhanced safety and sanitization protocols at the plant to mitigate the spread, including social distancing among employees and altered cafeteria procedures according to a release from FCHD.


The Health Department continues to track and investigate all positive cases by mandating quarantine, notifying and investigating contacts, and conducting tests as necessary.


The Kansas National Guard has deployed healthcare workers to assist with testing procedures at the FCHD off-site testing center and support our local Health Department, USD 457, and Garden City Community College in the expanded testing efforts there.


In coordination with the Finney County Sheriff’s Office, Garden City Police Department, Garden City Community College, and local hotels and restaurants, a plan is being developed to set up housing arrangements to support individuals who need to be quarantined out of their home to avoid coming into close contact with their families.


"As Guardsmen, we live and work in our communities in both our civilian and military jobs," said Maj. Gen. David Weishaar, the adjutant general of Kansas. "If you see uniformed members of the military in your community, they are simply there to assist the local authorities with the current COVID-19 response. Our Kansas Guardsmen and women are eager to support their communities wherever they are needed, whether it is assisting with food distribution, removal of debris after a tornado, battling wildland fires or rescuing people from floods. We are here to help our neighbors in their time of need."


Finney, Ford, Lyon, and Seward Counties are all included in this initiative.


Finney County Emergency Management is also working with personnel resources from the Kansas National Guard for the Governor’s non-congregate housing initiative. Preliminary conversations are happening with Kansas Department of Emergency Management and KDHE, following emergency preparedness guidelines.


The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has released updated testing criteria, expanding testing capabilities for more individuals. The Finney County Health Department is following this criteria, and will create appointments for testing for individuals who call the hotline and present with this criteria:


- Close contact with a person that has laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and developed symptoms within 14 days of contact, AND at least two (2) of the following symptoms:


Fever, chills, rigors, myalgia, malaise, headache, sore throat, lower respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing), new olfactory and taste disorders, or diarrhea without an alternate more likely diagnosis.


- Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet for a prolonged period (10 minutes or longer) and having direct contact with infectious secretions (for example, being coughed on).


OR


- History of travel within 14 days of symptom onset, AND at least (2) of the above-named symptoms.


- History of travel included travel outside the U.S. to countries with travel advisories, travel to states with cases of COVID-19, and attendance to mass gatherings.


OR


- No source of exposure has been identified, AND at least (2) of the above-named symptoms.


SOUTHWEST KANSAS NUMBERS


Finney County added 36 more positive confirmed COVID-19 case, bringing the total to 87 as of noon on Thursday.


As more positive confirmations of COVID-19 occur across the county, local health officials have determined there is evidence of community spread of the disease. The Finney County Health Department defines community spread as “five or more positive cases where the source is unable to be traced.”


This has been determined due to the number of positive cases not related to in or out-of-state travel and evidence of the disease being spread from person-to-person in Finney County.


Of the Finney County cases, five individuals have been hospitalized and 82 have quarantined at home according to the Finney County Health Department. Eight cases have recovered and there has been one death.


Additional information, including preventative measures, can be found at www.finneycounty.org/Coronavirus .


Ford County saw 80 positive confirmed cases additionally, bringing its total to 288. Seward County added 41 positive cases to a total of 125. Gray County saw its first positive case as of Thursday. Haskell County added five for a total of six; Kearny County added four for a total of eight; and Stevens County added two to bring its total to six. Numbers in other counties in southwest Kansas remained constant.


Here’s a look at the totals of positive confirmed COVID-19 cases, listed by the KDHE, as of noon on Thursday:


Finney - 87


Ford - 288


Gray - 1


Hamilton - 1


Haskell - 6


Kearny - 8


Morton - 2


Scott - 1


Seward - 125


Stanton - 3


Stevens - 6


The state of Kansas has over 2,400 confirmed positive cases.


A statewide stay at home order, for all of Kansas, has been extended until May 3.


Call Finney County’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Hotline, at (620) 272-3600  if you have recently traveled to a known infected area, have had exposure to someone who has COVID-19, or are experiencing the symptoms listed above.