FCHD gives county virus update

Meghan Flynn
Colleen Drees, Finney County Health Department director, talks about COVID-19 in April at the Finney County Fairgrounds.

Finney County Health Department director Colleen Drees updated the Finney County Commission on Monday about COVID-19 in the county.

Positive case numbers have increased by 6% from three weeks ago, Drees said.

“The week of July 20-24, two weeks ago, we tested a total of 162 (people), 43 of those came back positive, which gave us a 27% positivity rate,” she said. “The week prior we had 21%.”

Between July 27-31, 195 people were tested and 28 have been positive so far, 58 tests are pending.

Drees said that lately the positives can be traced to mass gatherings, such as birthday parties, barbecues and family reunions.

“Those types of things are kind of our big-ticket items that we're receiving some of the positives where several people contract coronavirus at one of those events,” she said.

In general terms, the recovery rate from COVID-19 has been relatively high within the county, Drees said. There hasn’t been an increase in deaths from COVID-19, and as of Monday there were five hospitalizations.

“Overall it looks like Finney County is doing well,” she said.

Drees still recommends people practice protective measures — social distancing, using face masks and avoiding large gatherings.

In other business Finney County engineer John Ellermann gave updates on the Jennie Barker Road Project and Farmland Road Project.

Work on the Jennie Barker Road Project has been delayed because of rain, Ellermann said. But work on the utility trench is ongoing as well as on the waterline relocation and modifications.

The contractor will begin work digging the ditch for the new box either this week or next week, Ellermann said. It’s been delayed because of the rain.

On the Farmland Road Project, Ellermann said they have met with all but one property owner.

Additionally, Ellermann said, the asphalt overlay on the Finney County-Scott County line was set to begin Aug. 4 as long as the pavement is dry; otherwise, it will start later in the week.

Roger Calkins, Finney County Public Works director, reported a lot of dirt road damage due to the rain, especially in the southern part of the county.

Mowing is also slow going and the weeds are growing quickly, Calkins said. But they are trying to get caught up.

The commission also approved a resolution to establish a fund for the SPARK grant.