Sep 29, 2021 4:40 PM

Barton County health workers discuss current COVID impact

Posted Sep 29, 2021 4:40 PM
The Great Bend Chamber of Commerce held a live chat with local health workers Sept. 27, 2021.
The Great Bend Chamber of Commerce held a live chat with local health workers Sept. 27, 2021.

By COLE REIF
Great Bend Post

Local health care workers joined a Great Bend Chamber of Commerce online chat Monday afternoon to discuss the current climate of COVID-19 in Barton County and Kansas. Representatives from University of Kansas Health System, Clara Barton Hospital, Ellinwood Hospital, Barton County Health Department and the State of Kansas joined the live panel.

Barton County Health Director Karen Winkelman said there have been over 430 positive cases of COVID-19 within the county this month, with a few days still left in September.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly’s Chief Advisor for COVID Coordination Dr. Marci Nielsen said this second year of the virus, including the delta variant, is concerning because it is affecting more of the younger population, including children.

"When school got back, we saw a significant number of outbreaks and lots of kids with COVID," said Nielsen. "The children's hospitals are in Wichita and Kansas City. We saw a doubling last week of the number of kids who were hospitalized with COVID."

The Barton County Health Department still has 20-30 citizens per day make use of the department’s drive-through testing that they schedule in the alley by their office.

Different forms of the vaccination are available to the public for free, with or without insurance.

The health panel all agreed that they would approve the vaccination for their own eligible children. Physician Assistant Taylor Bieberle at Clara Barton Hospital in Hoisington recommended the vaccination after seeing the long-term effects on COVID patients.

"COVID changes the body," said Bieberle. "You see imaging that is significantly changed that you don't see from other common viruses. You see scans of the lungs that look they are glass now versus something that is very soft like the lungs should generally be. You take it a year later, potentially, and that might not change."

The local hospital representatives noted they are seeing more and more COVID-related patients fill their hospital rooms and it has become difficult to transfer those patients to facilities that provide higher level of care.    

View the entire live chat from Sept. 27, 2021 by clicking HERE.