LARNED — Pawnee County is experiencing record numbers of coronavirus infections and hospitalizations, according to health officials at the University of Kansas Health System Pawnee Valley Campus in Larned.

Pawnee County currently has 495 positive patients and continues to increase each week, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment tracking website.

"The health system encourages everyone to take the pillars of infection prevention and control with you always," said Melanie Urban, Pawnee Valley Campus administrator. "We are asking the public again to make sure to wear masks that cover your nose and mouth when in public, consider eye protection (especially when flying), maintain a 6-foot distance with those outside your immediate household, wash and/or sanitize your hands thoroughly and often, avoid gatherings where social distancing is not possible, stay home if you are ill and do not let down your guard."

In a news release from the Pawnee Valley Campus, Urban said that not following these rules will put everyone at greater risk of contracting and spreading the virus.

"We support our public health officials and the recommendations they are proposing on what they believe will help bend the curve and keep our patients and community safe," Urban said. "This is a critical time and we need everyone in Pawnee County, and surrounding areas, to take this seriously."

Urban said new antibody therapies are days away and there is hope that promising vaccines are just months away.

"Please do everything in your power to help slow the spread of the virus," she said.