‘The virus is not going away’, County Health Department reports 47 new COVID cases; FHSU opens online virus dashboard

BY JUSTIN SABATA

Two weeks into the 2020 fall semester, Fort Hays State University students have been given a student-oriented COVID resource. In an email sent Friday afternoon, students were given a link to the new COVID-19 Dashboard as part of the university’s virus response page. The email also provided the first case update FHSU has provided students since the spike in cases began. 

“In this first dashboard report, the University is reporting 81 positive cases (SHC and CRL diagnosed cases) among our on-campus population,” the email said. “The data in this first report covers the period August 17 through August 27, 2020.”

On Friday, the Ellis County Health Department reported 47 new positive cases with 159 total active cases. The current weekly percent-of-positives rate is 22.8, well above the national average of 5.9 reported by John Hopkins University. There has been one additional hospitalization in the county since Wednesday. 

Ellis County Director of Health Services, Jason Kennedy, spoke to the Hays City Commission on Thursday. During the commission meeting, which saw several individuals protesting the current mask mandate in Hays, Kennedy pointed out the dramatic rise in the 7-day average case growth since late last week, and also stated reasons for the increase.

“That case growth is because people are tired of mandates, they’re tired of making good choices, they’re tired of the virus,” Kennedy said. “We don’t get that option right now.”

Kennedy also reminded the public of the continued presence the virus has on everyday life.

“This initial wave you see is a wave we’ll see again, and again, and again,” he said. “The virus is not going away, it’s part of society.”

The commission voted 3-2 in favor of extending the mask mandate in Hays until October 5.

The ECHD provides local updates on COVID-19 every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The current update, as well as links to other COVID-related resources, can be found on the ECHD website.

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