There more deaths from COVID-19 were reported on Monday for a total of 53 in Cowley County since the pandemic began.

“Sadly, we are now seeing a number we never envisioned,” Public Health Officer Thomas Langer said.

The fatalities are heavily skewed toward to older resident but are in no way normal, he added.

“I know that a growing number of people in the community know personally a family that has been affected by illness, and many know families where someone has perished,” Langer said. “It’s the sad reality of this pandemic.” 

Larger said he did not have details about the latest deaths. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which tracks deaths by county, says 21 are female and 32 male.

The virus found its way into local nursing homes where many of the deaths have occurred. Cowley County’s death rate is higher than the statewide rate and higher than all its neighboring counties.

Sumner County has had 27 deaths, Butler County 50, Chautauqua County 2, Elk County 1, Sedgwick County 463, Kay County, Okla., 44 and Osage County, Okla., 31.

More local deaths are likely.

“I do know of some people that are in poor condition and again we expect the number to continue to grow,” Langer said.

The total number of cases in Cowley County approached 3,000 as of Monday, an increase of 75 since Monday.

Active cases, those found between Jan. 1 and Jan. 10, were 168, a number that seems have remained steady in the past week or so, Langer said.

Total tests during that 10-day period were 1,137 for a 15 percent positivity rate.



Demand for vaccine is high with groups countywide anxious to get it, Langer said. The long-term care facilities are finally getting vaccine. 

His best estimate without having exact figures is that about 800 frontline medical response workers and 400 staff and residents of managed-care facilities have received their first vaccine dose, for a total of about 1,200.

He told KDHE the county would need about 200 more doses to finish vaccinating front-line medical people.

“I was not promised anything, so I don’t truly know if they will be sending more to us to finish that portion of work,” he said.

According to the Associated Press, the state has said the next groups to receive shots will include people 65 and older, critical workers such as law enforcement officers, meat-packing employees, grocery store workers, teachers and day care workers.

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