Mar 23, 2021 4:00 PM

With COVID taking center stage, did the flu season vanish?

Posted Mar 23, 2021 4:00 PM

By COLE REIF
Great Bend Post

Last Thanksgiving, there were over 300 reported active cases of COVID-19 in Barton County. As of March 19, there were seven active cases.

While the Barton County Health Department is not ready to let their guard down, their staff realizes the creation of the vaccination has provided the “light at the end of the tunnel.”

With so much focus on coronavirus over the last year, it almost feels like we glossed over the typical influenza season. 

"I know a lot of people feel like COVID suffocated the flu," joked Barton County Health Director Karen Winkelman. "We had all these measures in place with masks and extra handwashing. 

Winkelman says there has been a low percentage of flu cases in Barton County and throughout the entire state.

"When we started sending tests of COVID to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) initially, they were not doing influenza tests on those specimens," said Winkelman. "About the middle of November, they started doing influenza A and B on those same swabs, and we have yet to get a positive one back."

The Health Director still strongly encourages the use of thoroughly washing your hands often throughout the day.    

"COVID has brought to the forefront the importance of staying home when you are sick," said Winkelman. "We all feel like we have to be at work. I think COVID has brought that to light...take care of yourself. Stay home if you are sick."