While cases grow, number of active cases remain steady

Created by Adam Strunk 

While the total number of test-confirmed COVID-19 cases does grow in Harvey County, known active cases (where a person is sick) have hovered in a range between one and three cases for the last seven weeks.

Using our own articles and county press releases, we graphed in the chart seen below the change in case numbers as well as the status of tested COVID-19 patients since our first confirmed case on March 26.

During this time period, the state and county limited crowds and closed schools and many businesses to prevent the spread of the disease. Residents were encouraged to stay home and stay away from others outside their specific family unit. Starting May 3, restrictions on businesses and other services have gradually relaxed. Residents continue to be encouraged to practice social distancing, good hygiene, wear masks in public, and not gather in groups larger than 10.

The graph does not provide a perfect, real-time snapshot of case statuses. Instead, it charts the information that was available on the status of patients for each specific date.

It should serve a visual summary of the total number of cases, recoveries, and deaths of Harvey County residents who tested positive for the disease.

It should be noted that the graph counts those who have tested positive for COVID-19 through a blood test or through a swab test as a COVID-19 case.

This is the same practice that Harvey County is taking. Previous positive swab tests were labeled as a presumptive positive case and positive blood tests as probable cases.

The chart, in providing patient statuses, also includes the number of Harvey County residents who have died after testing positive for the disease, either by blood test or nasal swab.

One death was from a person who tested positive for coronavirus antibodies through a blood test and had already died by the time the test results were disclosed.

The other death was from a person who tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized. However, the county maintains that leukemia was defined as the person’s cause of death.

We will continue to chart the number of cases in the county like this in the future to provide increased perspective on a continually changing situation as the county moves to reopen businesses and other services.

The Harvey County Health Department continues to call on people to wear masks in public and practice social distancing and hand washing to avoid spreading the disease, especially as people return to public circulation.  In a press conference May 12, Health Department Director Lynnette Redington said the department continues to monitor local conditions in case cases spike with the gradual relaxation of the state’s past stay-at-home order.

As more testing supplies have become available, testing has increased in Harvey County during the last month, with COVID-19 tests conducted per week increasing from 17 four weeks ago to 142 last week. As of May 12, 411 tests for COVID-19 had been conducted in Harvey County.

On May 12, a drive-up screening center opened at Hesston Pharmacy in Hesston, providing free testing to anyone with a COVID-19 symptom. More widespread testing could lead to an increase in the number of confirmed cases in Harvey County.

Statewide, as of May 13, there were 7,468 confirmed cases, 704 hospitalizations, and 164 deaths.  So far, 50,160 tests administered in Kansas have come back as negative for COVID-19.


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