By Adam Strunk
Harvey County Health Department Director Lynnette Redington repeated the word a number of times when discussing the amount of COVID-19 in the county.
Active cases dropped from 72 to 55, the lowest since the second wave began in October.
The county added 36 new cases for the week, also the slowest growth in cases since early October.
And of those taking COVID-19 tests since Feb. 14, only about 9 in every 200 tested positive for the disease. The percent positive rate was 4.61, the county’s lowest rate since the end of September.
“That’s just fantastic,” Redington said.
Three residents are hospitalized. The total amount of cases recorded in the county is now 3,348.
The low negative point of the data has been the official death toll. The total climbed to 57, as official causes of death catch up with the deluge of cases and hospitalizations that took place through November, December and January.
Redington said she believed vaccination efforts had begun to make an impact.
“Long-term care facilities are doing very well at having very low to zero cases,” she said. “Many of those individuals have been vaccinated.”
By the end of the week, roughly 5,100 individuals on top of nursing home residents should have had vaccine access in Harvey County. Running totals by the paper are becoming increasingly difficult to keep with vaccine distribution channels increasing at the federal level.
Not all of those 5,100 individuals are residents, either. The sign up list for the 1,000 federal vaccine distributions at Hesston Pharmacy on Feb. 27 was open to those outside of the county, as well as residents.
The county has 3,900 people on its current phase 2 waiting list, consisting of those over 65. Of that number, 17 percent are out of county workers or residents. Redington said that all in-county workers or residents would be served before those out-of-county on the list.
She said that the county would also be using its supply to start getting vaccine to other high-risk individuals outlined by the state’s phase 2 plan, such as those in congregate living facilities (shelters, treatment centers).
She also said the county was working on plans to get access to vaccines for those working in public-facing critical jobs, as defined by the state and that eventually the county would release such plans.
Redington said she believed, under the current distribution schedule, the county would finish up with those in Phase two by late March, as the state had originally outlined.
As usual, Redington encouraged residents to wear masks, practice distancing and handwashing. She also asked those vaccinated to do so, as well, as there was a possibility they might still be able to spread the disease.