By JUSTIN SABATA
At the moment, the number of active COVID cases in Ellis County remains below 100. The Ellis County Health Department reported 77 active cases Wednesday, an increase from the 50 cases reported Monday. The number of hospitalizations stayed the same at three.
Ellis County Director of Health Services Jason Kennedy gave his near-weekly COVID update during Monday’s county commission meeting.
“Things are still the same; they’re still improving,” Kennedy said. “Our case counts have remained pretty much flat for really the last couple of weeks.”
Since Monday, 23 out of 255 tests returned positive, according to the health department. Despite a rise in weekly average percent-of-positives (6.10% Monday, 11% Wednesday), the overall rate of positive tests went down slightly from 15.6% to 15.5%.
The ECHD no longer shares the number of COVID deaths on its website. That is partly because of the information not always being readily available. On Wednesday, Hays Post reported 62 total COVID deaths in Ellis County. The New York Times reported 61 on the same day.
Vaccine in Ellis County
The health department recently joined with FirstCare Clinic and HaysMed to provide a vaccination clinic for county residents. Located at Big Creek Crossing, the clinic administers the vaccine received from the state.
“Obviously, the vaccine clinic is going really well,” Kennedy said. “The partnership that we’ve got with the medical community is phenomenal.”
During Monday’s commission meeting, Kennedy gave an update on the number of doses that have been administered.
“We have, between FirstCare and the health department, we have given right around 1,300 — 1,280 to be exact — first doses of COVID-19 vaccine,” Kennedy said. “And then we’ve given the subsequent second dose as they go with that.”
According to the KDHE, Ellis County is set to receive 400 doses of vaccine this week. As reported by Kennedy, the weekly supply of vaccines usually lasts one to two days.
“We are giving all the vaccines every week that we receive,” Kennedy said. “We get the vaccine on Monday or Tuesday, it will all be gone by Wednesday or Thursday.”
When a person receives the vaccine, they are asked to stay for approximately 15 minutes afterward.
“They have to wait 15 minutes, minimum of 15 minutes,” Kennedy said. “If they have any kind of reaction or we see anything that is concerning, then we might ask them to wait longer.”
Kennedy then assured that reactions have been comparable to mild flu symptoms such as stomach aches or fatigue. Others have reported minor swelling at the injection site and mild arm pain.
“Most of that is due to your immune system actually responding and building those antibodies,” Kennedy said. “But as far as anaphylactic reactions, we have not had any.”
Residents who are scheduling their vaccinations must also schedule to receive the second dose. In response to a question from Commissioner Butch Schlyer, Kennedy stated the importance of receiving the second dose within a 24-day window.
“If you can not make it in for your second vaccination in the 24 days (after first vaccination), please call us ahead of time so we can reschedule your first vaccination,” Kennedy said. “Because there’s not a ton of leniency here, so we want to get everybody the first vaccine that can also receive their second.”
The KDHE reported 198,350 people have been vaccinated in the state (6.8% of the population). Of the 413,350 doses distributed in Kansas, nearly 250,000 have been administered.