BY JUSTIN SABATA
The continued decrease of COVID-19 in the area has continued into a new week. As reported by the Ellis County Health Department, the 7-day average percent-of-positives on Wednesday was 0.90%. This is a decrease from Monday when the rate was 2.80%. And, a noticeable decrease from the 5.60% rate in the week leading up to last Friday.
For further comparison, the weekly rate once stood over 30% in late November. Ellis County Director of Health Services Jason Kennedy explained these recent statistics during Monday’s county commission meeting.
“For the first time since this pandemic started, Ellis County sees a precipitous decline in its percent-of-positive,” Kennedy said. “Which means less illness in the community.”
The amount of tests given can make an impact on weekly statistics. Kennedy assured that testing numbers have remained high in the area while the infection numbers have gone down.
“Actually, in the last few weeks, we’ve had some of our highest days of testing ever,” Kennedy said.
36 active cases were reported by the health department on Wednesday. As cases decline, the county has seen an increase in activity. Due to the lower numbers, the health director did not discourage the community from returning to normal.
“They’re moving back towards some level of normalcy and it’s a good time to do that,” Kennedy said. “Our cases are low, we want to keep them low, but we also understand that people need to move forward with life.”
At the same time, Kennedy encouraged residents to still take proper precautions. Especially, if one is feeling symptomatic.
“As we go through spring, people just still need to be somewhat smart – if you’re sick, stay home, if you don’t feel well, stay home – if you’re symptomatic, go get tested,” Kennedy said. “It might actually not be COVID, you might have something else wrong with you.”
Attending scheduled doctor’s appointments and being active outdoors was also promoted by the health director.
A little over 14% of the Kansas population has received the first dose of the vaccine. Counties across Kansas are allocated amounts of vaccine based on infection rates and population. Kennedy provided an update on the vaccine in Ellis County on Monday.
“We’ve given around 3,000 frontline doses just at our vaccine clinic, that doesn’t include what HaysMed has given to frontline healthcare workers,” Kennedy said. “And, about 1000 second doses. We do have another 500 for this week.”
The U.S. currently has the goal of reaching enough vaccine supply for all adults by the end of May. For now, Kennedy advises residents to sign up for the vaccine using the online COVID-19 Vaccine Request Form.
“Vaccine availability will get better,” Kennedy said. “We still need everybody to get signed up.”
Those who are not 65 years or older are still encouraged to fill out the request form.