Testing

Carrie Schmitz administers a COVID-19 test to a patient recently at CMH.

Northeast Kansas’ COVID-19 case count is growing while outbreaks in rural Kansas towns are making national news.

Marshall County Health Department recorded 13 active cases Monday, including two people who were hospitalized. There were five pending tests that day.

The county has had a total 73 cases with 60 recoveries in recent months.

Valley Heights school district reported its first COVID-19 case Tuesday. A district message posted on social media said a middle-school student tested positive and that “close-contact tracing is currently going on.”

“If you do not receive a call from the Valley Heights administration or the Marshall County Health Department, you are not considered a direct contact,” the message said.

People are asked to call the district office, 785-363-2398, with questions or concerns.

Centralia High School withdrew its volleyball team early this week from play in the Twin Valley League tournament because of a COVID-19 case at the school. The single case, a student, was to be out of school for 10 days, said USD 380 Superintendent Matt Rogers. Contact tracing was under way.

“Per our established protocol, we have thoroughly cleaned and disinfected spaces this individual was in contact with. We are also in contact with the Nemaha County Health Department and will take the steps necessary to protect the health of our staff and students,” Rogers wrote on the school’s website.

Those with questions were asked to call Rogers at 785-382-6216.

In Nemaha County, 43 active cases were reported Monday with two in the hospital. The county doesn’t post the number of pending tests.

In Washington County, six active cases were reported last Friday and the health department had not posted another report as of Tuesday afternoon. There were five pending tests Friday.

In Riley County, 72 active cases were reported. The county’s percent positive rate fell to 5.9 percent for the week of Oct. 11.

“This rate compares the number of positive tests to the total number of tests performed for Riley County residents and is one indication of how the virus is spreading in the community. The percent positive rate has been declining since Riley County hit a high point of 34.5 percent positive the week of Aug. 23,” the Riley County Health Department posted.

There were 10 active outbreaks in Riley County on Monday, including six cases at Riley State Bank in the city of Riley.

Statewide, infections and deaths are rising. Kansas health officials reported 67 deaths, a single-day high, on Oct. 14. In Norton County, in northwest Kansas, an outbreak at a nursing home resulted in all 62 residents testing positive and 10 deaths, according to an Associated Press report on Tuesday.

Last week’s Kansas death toll amounted to 14 percent of the total 838 deaths the state had recorded so far.

The spread is attributed to cooler weather, sending people indoors, and reluctance to take protective actions such as masks and social distancing.

In Nebraska last week, Gov. Pete Ricketts put new restrictions in place after a surge of cases.

Gage County, Neb., with Beatrice, had 148 active cases and Lancaster County, with Lincoln, has 1,321 cases as of Monday, according to the Nebraska health department.

New preventive steps in Nebraska:

Hospitals must provide 10 percent of their bed and intensive care unit space for incoming COVID-19 patients. Indoor gatherings at 50 percent capacity. People at bars and restaurants must remain seated, with no more than eight to a table. Wedding and funeral receptions must limit table sizes to no more than eight people.