• Last modified 523 days ago (April 16, 2020)


COVID-19 cases notch up again

Marion County has five confirmed cases, 59 tests come back negative

Staff writer

Although Marion County’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have risen to five, 59 tests taken in the county have come back negative, county health nurse Diedre Serene said.

So far, confirmed cases include a woman in her 50s confirmed Tuesday, a man in his 80s confirmed Saturday, a woman between the ages of 55 and 65 confirmed April 5, a man between the ages of 45 and 54 confirmed April 3, and a woman between the ages of 20 and 44 confirmed April 2.

Serene said health care providers are required to report tests to detect the virus to Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

They report positive test results within four hours of receiving laboratory results.

Numbers reported daily on the KDHE website can be a bit off if county residents are tested in a different county, Serene said.

“We have some Newton addresses that are actually Marion County residents,” Serene said. “Sometimes we have to find out from the residents themselves.”

On Tuesday morning, KDHE did not report “probable cases,” such as someone who had contact with a COVID-19 patient and later develops symptoms, she said.

KDHE is considering counting them as confirmed cases, Serene said.

Health care providers, not the health department, decide whether patients with possible symptoms of the virus — fever, cough, and shortness of breath — are tested, Serene said.

“If a physician decides not to test a patient showing symptoms, the health department considers the patient a “probable case.”

Although many residents have asked that information about the location of someone who has tested positive be disclosed, Serene said the health department will continue to not release that information.

“I think we need to take into account people’s feelings, and that’s protected health information under federal law,” Serene said.

“That’s what we have to follow,” she said.

Serene said if an outbreak occurs in the county, the state health department will likely release where it happened, but otherwise locations will not be made public.

Serene encourages people to keep six feet or more apart to socially distance, limit movement, avoid mass gatherings, and wash their hands frequently for 20 seconds.

She also encourages people to visit necessary stores alone if possible.

“I’m not advocating leaving a small child at home,” she said.

Serene said she works with surrounding health departments, local medical providers, and KDHE.

“We’re all in this together,” Serene said. “Things change day to day. The recommendations may change in one day.”

Last modified April 16, 2020