Marion County Health Department gives update on COVID-19

Diedre Serene, Marion County Health Department Administrator, updated the commissioners on where Marion County stood with COVID-19 during the commissioner meeting on Monday, Aug.17.

“Marion County has a total of 61 cases out of which are 51 positive and 10 probable,” said Serene. “We currently have two active cases. They are isolated and have been quarantined. The positive rate for Marion County is 4.6 percent. Please keep in mind that the numbers on the KDHE website are a bit different as we have been now including the Tabor testing in our reporting. The last reporting for Tabor had been 386 tests and the county had 720 tests. Now I know Tabor did some testing for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This week I will be getting those numbers as well since there is some lag time.”

Kent Becker has several questions regarding numbers implying that the numbers reported were not actual Marion County residents, but Serene quickly explained that the numbers were accurate and were in fact Marion County numbers.

She did explain that there will be some situations where they will have to figure out where to count a case since Tabor students live in Marion County but are residents of other counties.

“The state is trying to figure out how they will count the Tabor students since the college has written the plan in such a way as that the student is positive and has the means to isolate at home, that is what is going to happen. So we are trying to work out if they go to another county, does that county get that number or do we keep that number? We are trying to figure out how numbers work with that,” said Serene.

Becker continued to appear confused and questioned further.

“But the total of 1106 test on the dashboard that we see in front of us right now, are those all Marion County people?” he asked.

“Yes,” said Serene.

Next, Becker asked about false-positive test results.

Serene explained the county has not had false positives. She said she is going to assume that people are referring to the rumors that some states are reporting false numbers in order to increase funding.

“We are not entering any cases into the system unless we have a confirmed lab test. And these come from Lab Corp, Lab Quest, KDHE — so if something fishy is going on in the labs, I can’t speak for that, but I would say that our numbers are positive.

Becker continued to ask questions, but Serene directed him to KDHE as they were not related to the Marion County Health Department and she was not able to answer them.

Commissioner Randy Dallke also began asking questions that related to false positives. Serene encouraged people to see providers that they trust.

Serene mentioned that she is continuing to meet with schools to work on the procedures that they are using.

She continues to check in daily with Tabor as they begin classes on Tuesday, Aug 18.

Serene reported that the Health Department has had a positive relationship with all of the education systems involved.

Working with Max Heinrichs of USD 410 and Frank Johnson and others of Tabor, I feel has gone extremely well. Their flexibility and willingness to provide the best services possible in a safe manner should make the community of Hillsboro proud. Any parent or student that attends the facilities should know that the districts and college are working very diligently to limit the spread of COVID-19.,” said Serene. “It takes a community to be successful in facing this COVID Challenge.”

In fact, Serene had nothing but praise for all of the education administrators in Marion County and even beyond.

I would like to commend all the districts in Marion County and Cottonwood Grove for their diligence and flexibility throughout this COVID challenge. In working with them it is apparent that they truly believe in the health and safety of their students,” Serene said.

Here are the week’s cases:

Tuesday, Aug.11

Positive case is a female in her 20s.

Sunday, Aug 16

Positive case is a male in his 30s

Once a person tests positive, contact tracing gets underway, with identified contacts being placed in quarantine. A close contact is defined as being within 6 feet for 10 minutes or longer. The Marion County Health Department is working with KDHE and is monitoring the individuals placed in isolation and quarantine.

No further information about the cases will be released.

The Marion County Health Department recommends the following actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

n Stay home when sick

n Practice social distancing

n Practice thorough handwashing with soap and water or hand sanitizer

n wear a mask in public

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