• Last modified 719 days ago (Oct. 15, 2020)


County hits 1-day COVID case record

Senior center suspends dining after volunteer diagnosed

Staff writer

Marion County Health Department on Tuesday released its largest COVID-19 report yet, with eight new cases that brought the county’s total to 134.

One of the new cases caused Marion senior center to suspend serving lunch at the center for two weeks after a volunteer was diagnosed Monday with a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID.

Board member Norma Kline said the woman, now hospitalized in Newton, was last at the senior center Thursday.

She didn’t feel well Friday, and was not at the center Monday.

“I am sorry to announce that the Marion Senior Center will be closed for the next two weeks for inside dining,” Kline posted on a social media page. “This is due to an active case of COVID among our group. Take-out meals can be picked up at the back door. Thank you for your patience and care.”

Kline said board members had to make their own decision whether to close the center and for how long.

“We really didn’t get much direction from the health department,” Kline said.

Health department director Diedre Serene said while the health department did not order the center to close, the area agency on aging is responsible for overseeing the friendship meal program.

North Central-Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging also was little help. Kline said the agency basically told them to make their own decision.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment data shows one case was diagnosed Saturday.

It is not known whether the other cases were diagnosed Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, health department nurses said.

The new cases reported Tuesday are laboratory-confirmed cases of three women in their 20s, 50s, and 80s; laboratory-confirmed cases of three men in their 20s, 50s, and 60s; and probable cases of a woman in her 60s, and a boy in his teens.

Probable cases are people who developed symptoms after exposure to someone infected with the virus.

The health department reported two people were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Tuesday and 19 were being treated for the virus.

Tuesday’s report followed a trend of increasing numbers of new cases with seven cases reported between Oct. 7 and Friday.

The four cases reported Oct. 7 were a woman in her 60s, a man in his 50s, a woman in her 40s, and a boy in his teens.

Thursday’s cases were two women in their 40s — one with a laboratory-confirmed case and the other with a probable case.

Friday’s case was a woman in her 30s with a laboratory-confirmed case.

The incubation period for the virus is two to 14 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control. An abrupt rise in COVID cases began Sept. 29, three days after Old Settlers Day, the fall festival, and the Hillsboro cruise.

County health nurse Diedre Serene said it remains unclear whether any cases were linked to Old Settlers Day, Peabody Fall Festival, the Hillsboro Cruise, or the annual chili cook-off at the county lake.

A meal available for pickup and delivery is the same as last spring when the center was closed for dining.

“People kind of got used to that,” she said.

Kline said staff and volunteers wear masks and servers wear gloves.

“I don’t want anyone feeling they’re not safe here,” Kline said. “It’s just so sad.”

To reserve a meal to be picked up or delivered, seniors can call (620) 382-2942.

The health department continues to recommend that people stay home when they are sick, wear a mask when in public, and wash their hands frequently.

Last modified Oct. 15, 2020