COVID-19 update given at Finney County Commission meeting

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
Colleen Drees, Finney County Health Department director, speaks to the Finney County Commission Nov. 2 during a meeting. [MEGHAN FLYNN/GARDEN CITY TELEGRAM]

The status of COVID-19 within the county was given at the Finney County Commission meeting Tuesday.

Colleen Drees, Finney County Health Department director, said the COVID-19 positivity rate is down significantly from the high points in the past couple of months.

The county has been maintaining a positivity rate of about 30%, Drees said.

"It's much better than the 40% it was ranging in the several months prior to this," she said. "It's much improved."

From Dec. 27 through Jan. 2, there were a total of 116 positives with a 31% positivity rate and an average of 12 hospitalizations.

From Jan. 3 through Jan. 9, there were 148 positives with a positivity rate of 31% and an average of 13 hospitalizations.

In terms of the COVID-19 vaccine, the county has been able to coordinate with the state several transfers of the vaccine with local partners, Drees said. The county is holding a lot of on-site vaccination clinics for businesses and is still finishing up the remainder of Phase 1 vaccinations.

"Next week we will be giving second doses to the beginning, that first week of vaccines and all the organizations that we did in that first tier, because you have to wait for 28 days after the first dose to administer the second dose," she said.

This week, staff are still working on identifying everyone within Phase 1 and finishing up some outliers or clinics that have smaller numbers of people, Drees said.

The state determines when each vaccination phase ends and begins, and Phase 2 is comprised of several broad categories, Drees said. They include first responders like police, the sheriff's department, highway patrol, firefighters, the school district and agriculture.

In other business, Stephen Green, Finney County Emergency Management director, said Gov. Laura Kelly has extended the State of Disaster relative to the COVID-19 pandemic through Jan. 26, which can then be extended on 30-day increments.

"That allows the state to work through their emergency response plan, they can keep their EOC activated, still disseminate information on a daily basis, still help provide resources for us to move forward with that, especially when it comes to the health department we can provide some of those PPE resources ... resources through the state when we go through their procurement process," he said.