County Board hears COVID-19 update

Meghan Flynn
The Finney County Health Department has updated its COVID-19 dashboard on its website.

Finney County Health Department director Colleen Drees gave an update on COVID-19 within the county at Monday’s Finney County Board meeting.

Drees said the positivity rate has been a bit of a seesaw the past couple weeks, going from a 47% positivity rate, decreasing to 43% and has now increased back up to 48% as of their last full week of data from Nov. 13-21.

The total number of positive cases from Nov. 15-21 is 228, which is down 336 from the previous week.

Drees said the testing numbers at the health department have gone down since the GoGetTested site was opened during the week of Thanksgiving.

Test results from that site range from 48 to 72 hours, Drees said.

“They're launching several other testing sites, as well, across the state of Kansas, so I'm wondering how that will impact the testing turnaround, as well,” she said.

The positives from the site get reported directly to the Finney County Health Department and all testing is reported to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

Drees said while people receive their results quickly, it takes longer for the results to reach the health department.

When people receive their results, it would be helpful if they send a PDF copy of the results to the health department so they can issue people’s return dates, quarantine dates, etc, Drees said.

“We have to have that confirmation of result on file to then issue those dates,” she said.

The hospital is still at full capacity, Drees said.

“All of last week they were at full capacity, no more staff beds,” she said. “That’s a big issue there for our community there when our hospital is for sure full. Any precautions possible from our public would be as necessary now as ever.”

In other news, the health department’s dashboard on the Finney County website has been updated.

The dashboard is more interactive and allows for better sharing of information on the county’s COVID-19 situation.

In other business, the Finney County Board of Commissioners approved a partnership between the county and Turning Point Church of the Nazarene to open a remote learning center to provide access and assistance with distance learning for children of front-line employees.

The SPARK grant and support from the health department made the partnership possible.

Registration for the center is open for first responders due to a limited number of spaces.

Continual assessment about space and availability will be made to serve as many students as possible with the goal to open registration to more first responders and front-line employees in the future.

The health department will work with the Church of the Nazarene to ensure safety guidelines are met and monitored.

USD 457 is working in partnership with the initiative to provide breakfast and lunch to all students in the center.