COVID-19 numbers continued to grow to 514 total cases, 195 of them active as of Monday with five deaths so far in Marshall County.

“We’re seeing pretty persistent numbers,” said Sue Rhodes, county health nurse. “From last Monday through last Thursday, we had 98 cases.”

Over the weekend and by Monday, many more tested positive. Forty tests were pending on Monday, and 319 people had recovered from the virus.

“If people have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19, they should not go to work,” Rhodes said. “We have a lot of cases of people going to work sick and exposing people there. And I can’t stress enough the importance of wearing masks…If they just wear a mask it cuts down the number of people who have to be quarantined around them if they test positive.”

Seven county residents were hospitalized here or elsewhere with the virus on Monday. Community Memorial Healthcare reported 14 beds were occupied in the 25-bed hospital, six of them with COVID-19 patients.

So far, the hospital has had up to nine COVID-19 patients at any one time, said CMH spokeswoman Ashley Kracht. She said it’s getting harder to move patients who need to go to a higher-level medical facility. Those regional hospitals are reporting an overwhelming amount of COVID-19 cases.

“We are having increasing difficulty finding places to transfer patients,” Kracht said.

Many in quarantine

Overall, Marysville’s public school district has had minimal positive cases so far. Last Thursday, the district posted on its website that there was one active staff positive case at Marysville Elementary School and one active student positive at the elementary school. In addition, one temporary employee tested positive this past weekend.

There were five active cases among staff at the junior-senior high and two active cases among junior-senior high students.

While those cases are out of school, Marysville USD 364 Superintendent Mike Couch said there are also many students out of class on quarantine.

“Many are at home because they’ve been exposed to a parent who has tested positive,” he said.

Teachers teach them remotely while also teaching students in person in the classrooms.

Courthouse shutdown

COVID-19’s fast spread spurred Marshall County commissioners to vote to close the courthouse last Thursday to the public until Nov. 30, when commissioners will re-evaluate whether to reopen. Public access to the building is limited to appointments only.

County health nurse Rhodes warned commissioners at a special meeting last Thursday that the positive cases could go even higher with people gathering for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“The numbers are going to continue to rise with the two holidays coming up,” Rhodes said.

People can do county business by phone, online or by dropping off payments at a dropbox outside the courthouse front door. They can also call county offices for appointments.

In addition, the county’s Agency on Aging will limit its public transportation program to in-county rides only.

On Nov. 18, County Treasurer Jami Ellenbecker closed down her office until Nov. 30 because of a case of COVID-19 among office staff.

County emergency management director Bill Schwindamann suggested shutting down the courthouse to both the public and employees until Nov. 30 to allow for a thorough disinfection of the building. Schwindamann said it is currently unclear if COVID-19 spread to other offices in the courthouse.

Commissioners’ Chairman Barb Kickhaefer said employees will be expected to stay in their own offices and disinfect their work areas daily.

During national spread of coronavirus last spring, the commissioners closed the courthouse to the public from March 19 to May 18. Rhodes said the first time the courthouse was closed was a “dry run” when the county had no COVID-19 cases yet.

“This time is different,” Rhodes said. “This time it’s real.”

Treasurer’s office

Ellenbecker said driver’s license and vehicle title work services will be suspended until Nov. 30. She said the public can still pay their county property taxes and renew car tags using alternative methods such as:

• Online at www.marshall.kansasgov.com.

• By mail — P.O. Box 391, Marysville, KS, 66508.

• The dropbox outside the northeast courthouse entrance.

• At any local bank.