As of Sunday Saline County has not had any positive cases of COVID-19. Tests have been performed and sent to the Kansas Department of Health & Environment, but all have been negative at this time.
The health department told KSAL News they do not know how many people have been tested because they only track confirmed cases. A medical official from a Salina health care facility told KSAL News he estimated less than a dozen people have been tested locally, He said no “test kits” were available in Salina yet either. Patients can still be swabbed and tested though, much like testing for the flu. But the Kansas Department of Health and Environment must first approve the test, and only allows it if the patient meets certain criteria.
The Saline County Health Department supports the recommendation of Kansas State Department of Education to close all schools March 16-20th. This will allow state and local partners to determine the best course of action for future response regarding this fluid situation.
Testing for COVID-19 is underway. Currently, to be tested for COVID-19 at the Kansas Health and Environmental Laboratories (KHEL), approval must be obtained through the KDHE Epidemiology Hotline by a healthcare provider. KHEL is currently testing for COVID-19 twice a day and KDHE is calling submitting healthcare facilities/medical offices and local health departments with positive, indeterminate, and unsatisfactory test results, regardless of time of day. Dr. Norman from KDHE was quoted from other media sources “Anyone whose doctor asks for a test in Kansas will get one, as long as they’re showing symptoms. We don’t test well people because well people will test negative.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has updated their guidance on large events and mass gatherings. The CDC recommends “For the next 8 weeks, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.”
Emergency Management would like to ask the community to be patient with their education, public health and safety leaders. They say they are diligently working on protecting the health and safety of Saline County. Please understand that guidance is changing rapidly and they are doing their very best to adapt to the recommendations.
They cannot stress enough the importance of preventing the spread of diseases by:
• Staying at home if you are sick.
• Washing your hands.
• Covering your sneezes and coughs.
• If you have concerns of your health condition, please call your primary care physician.