By COLE REIF
Great Bend Post
At Monday’s Barton County Commission meeting, Barton County Health Director Karen Winkelman pointed out her office is not a Monday through Friday office anymore. The Health Department has not been that for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Winkelman acknowledged that her staff and other county employees are working all hours of the week to stay abreast of new information and reacting to local cases.
The Health Director noted Barton County and the State of Kansas are seeing a rise in coronavirus cases and isolation orders and part of the reason for that is a jump in social gatherings. Oftentimes, reported cases do not show up until weeks after exposure, and the 4th of July rush of cases is starting to be accounted for.
"4th of July parties have brought up our quarantine orders drastically," said Winkelman.
On July 8 there were three positive COVID-19 cases active and 59 active quarantine or isolation orders in Barton County. The latest numbers from July 18 show 19 active cases and 171 quarantines, a jump of 112 isolation orders in 10 days.
"There have been a lot of gatherings and events, big and small," said Winkelman. "Even though those events may have been perfectly planned as far as social distancing and wearing masks, it is sometimes after the event that the congregating happens."
Barton County received information from a medical provider Saturday in regards to the recent death of a previously confirmed COVID-19 case. This death was reported to Vital Statistics as a confirmed COVID-19 related death in Barton County, bringing the coronavirus-related death total to three in the county.
"Someone summed it up to me last week in saying they were being very cautious with their family and protecting those around them," Winkelman said. "This individual said they respected the COVID virus and listened to the professionals and the experts in the field. I thought that was a good way to look at it...we respect it...we need to do what we need to do."