County confirms COVID-19 cluster with Bethel football team

By Adam Strunk 

The Harvey County Health Department confirmed a cluster of 12 COVID-19 cases with the Bethel football team Monday.

According to the health department, 11 of the 12 members were not fully vaccinated, according to the county.

Harvey County Now reached out to Tricia Clark, Director of Internal Communications and Marketing, as well as a member of the school’s infectious disease management team via email Monday morning.

On Tuesday, the school released a statement saying that the school had moved to its “yellow” COVID status as antigen testing found a total of 12 positives, or 1.74%, of those tested.

“Eleven were students, and one was an employee,” the release stated.

The results are better than last year, where 50 staff and students tested positive for COVID-19 at the return of school.

“The Bethel community will continue to practice good hygiene and six-foot physical distancing and to log symptoms daily using the #CampusClear app,” Clark stated in the release.

“Masks are required indoors and outdoors on campus, except in individual offices and residential housing rooms,” she said.

The school has been working to increase the vaccination rate of its students and staff by offering financial incentives for them to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Students who present evidence of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 will receive a $250 check. Staff will receive a $250 bonus.

The financial incentives will be paid using funds from the federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III). The fund is authorized through the larger American Recovery Plan.

Vaccination is encouraged but not required on the campus. The college hopes to reach a community immunity number between 70-85% of campus during the fall semester. It has also partnered with the Harvey County Health Department to offer vaccination clinics for employees and students on two dates in August and one in September.

According to the health department, there are currently 97 active cases of COVID-19 in Harvey County, and six residents are hospitalized.

Reports say 60.17% of eligible county residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 53.4% of those eligible are fully vaccinated.



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