Marshall County reported 35 active cases of COVID-19 Monday, according to the county health department.

The county had five people hospitalized with the virus and 17 more were awaiting COVID-19 test results.

Statewide, coronavirus numbers continue to climb, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. As the virus’ delta variant has spread this summer, hospitals reported a wider range of ages with more serious symptoms compared with a year ago when the majority of COVID-19 patients were elderly.

Regional hospitals also report their intensive care units are full or close to it, making it harder to take in any kind of patient from rural hospitals that need a higher level of care.

Marysville’s 25-bed hospital, Community Memorial Healthcare, has at times found it difficult to place local patients at larger hospitals because of overcrowded intensive care units, said Debbie Hedke, CMH director of infection prevention and employee health.

“It’s been a lot of work at times to find the right place to send them to one that has a bed available,” Hedke said. “Some can get in, but must wait for a bed to open.”

COVID-19 patients also are treated here if they don’t require high-level care. CMH had four patients ill with the virus on Tuesday.

The hospital recently installed negative-pressure systems in four rooms, which serve as isolation rooms, at the end of a hallway of patient rooms. Those are used for COVID-19 patients, Hedke said. The rooms’ air system regularly circulates clean air into the room while pulling old air out.

Two trauma rooms, within the emergency room area, also have negative-pressure systems.

“We feel fortunate to have recently installed these systems in four patient rooms,” Hedke said.

As for employee health, CMH currently has a staff vaccination rate of between 71 and 72 percent, Hedke said.

“We’re waiting to hear (from KDHE) about providing boosters, or a third shot, to employees,” she said.

CMH does not provide COVID-19 vaccines at this point, mainly because the vaccine must be kept cold and the hospital does not have the facilities for it, Hedke said. But that could change in the future, she said.

Marshall County Health Department has adequate cold storage space in downtown Marysville and is administering the bulk of free COVID-19 vaccinations each Tuesday to anyone who needs one. Walmart’s pharmacy also provides vaccine shots free during its daytime hours.

The vaccine remains easily available at health departments in area counties and through pharmacies in corporate chains such as Dillon’s supermarkets in Manhattan. Dillon’s stories in Kansas, including in Manhattan, announced this week they’ll now provide $100 in gift cards to those who get a COVID-19 vaccine there.