BY JUSTIN SABATA
As Labor Day weekend arrives, the COVID-19 situation in Ellis County does not appear to be taking a break. On Wednesday, the county saw a 48 case increase with a weekly percent-of-positives rate of 18.9% as reported by the Ellis County Health Department. At the time, there were four active hospitalizations.
The number of hospitalizations decreased to three on Friday, as did the weekly percent-of-positives rate (14.6%). However, there were 67 new cases reported on Friday, raising the total active cases to 161.
Due to the sharp increase in new cases, the ECHD will be limiting their clinic hours while no longer accepting walk-in appointments, according to a press release published by the ECHD Friday afternoon. Appointments can be made on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays by calling 785-628-9440.
“Our goal is to respond to the needs of Ellis County in the most efficient manner possible,” the release said. “Please have patience as we all work through this unprecedented time together.”
The department warns that phone lines are busy and that the ECHD can not provide any medical advice over the phone. Those who have questions about their specific medical condition in relation to COVID-19 are directed to call their primary physician.
The ECHD, along with FHSU and other schools in Ellis County, released a joint statement on Friday as part of the “Ellis County K-12 Response Group.”
“As the Labor Day weekend approaches, Ellis County Health Department along with the area public, private, and post-secondary schools are sending an urgent reminder for residents of Ellis County,” the statement said. “Please adhere to all mitigation measures, especially avoiding large gatherings.”
The group continues to recommend residents make good choices for the community.
“Smart decisions this weekend and every day will assist in lowering the overall impact to Ellis County and allow all of our schools to continue with on-site learning,” the statement said.
Students of FHSU are still recommended to use the COVID-19 Dashboard on the university website for more information. The site, last updated August 31, gives statistics on testing, quaratines, and isolation on campus. Clinical Reference Laboratory (CRL) test kit numbers are also provided.