COVID-19 testing by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment is being limited to only high-priority cases such as medical field workers and nursing home patients, Marshall County public health officer John Ryan told county commissioners Monday.
Ryan spoke to commissioners via telephone. The commissioners’ weekly meeting was in the closed courthouse because of coronavirus concerns, but it was streamed live for the public on the Marshall County Clerk and Election Officer’s Facebook page.
Ryan said Community Memorial Healthcare is looking into private labs for testing.
“We have had people in the area with symptoms. Two were negative, and a dozen are yet to come back,” Ryan said of the testing. “I’m sure we will have a positive at some point, if we do enough testing.”
Ryan said some people in the county who have traveled are in self-quarantine. He said county health nurse Sue Rhodes is calling to do status checks on those people, and if they do not show symptoms for 14 days, it will be assumed they do not have COVID-19.
He said the disease spreads because it is most contagious during the first five days when there are little or no symptoms.
Ryan said it is essential that information about the local situation is kept flowing through newspapers and radio.
County counselor Jason Brinegar said that “we hope when this is all over, people look at Marshall County and say, ‘Wow, what did they do to keep their infection rate down.’”
Commissioner Barb Kickhaefer said she had been asked by Astro 3 Theatre owner Alex Shultz if businesses that have been forced to close would be reimbursed by the county. Kickhaefer said she told Shultz that the federal government would be offering small business loans, but Shultz said it was a still a loan that would have to be repaid.
Agency on Aging director Ashley Lyhane said the Meals on Wheels program is continuing. Kickhaefer said the service is important because the elderly need to have someone checking on them.
Commissioners spoke with Midwest Land and Home co-owner Jeff Dankenbring about a land auction it has set for 10 a.m. Saturday at 505 Broadway. Dankenbring said bidders have the option of bidding online or via telephone and only registered bidders will be allowed into the facility.
Commissioners gave their approval of the auction but asked that no food or drink be provided, hand sanitizer be available and that everyone entering be asked questions about where they have traveled recently and how they are feeling.
At the end of the meeting, Kickhaefer said commissioners will continue to meet in a room with no public but will stream it on Facebook until the pandemic relents.