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Goessel nursing home identified as active COVID-19 cluster

Staff writer

Bethesda Home in Goessel has been declared the site of a COVID-19 cluster by Kansas Department of Health.

According to information released Wednesday by KDHE, Oct. 15 was the most recent date of onset of symptoms.

The total number of current and previous cases was not disclosed. Nor was any information offered on why the cluster was not reported for nearly a week.

A cluster is defined as a location having five or more cases diagnosed within 14 days. Bethesda Home reportedly had eight cases the 14 days that ended Oct. 15 to make the list.

Marion County Health Department did not disclose information about the cases at Bethesda in its daily COVID reports over that period.

Administrator Diedre Serene said that if long-term care facilities, schools, and other organizations chose to notify the public that they were deemed a cluster, the health department would offer guidance to the organizations, Serene said.

“They know usually before we do,” Serene said. “Most of the time when it’s contained, I think that’s up to the facility to get the word out.”

Bethesda Home has released no information.

The Marion County Record called Bethesda and asked to speak to CEO Sara Hiebert. The Record was told Hiebert was out of the office. She did not respond after a reporter requested that she be contacted to comment on the cluster.

Serene said she had previously planned to release only clusters that stemmed from a public event, but in the future she would notify the public of a cluster at an organization.

“If we have identified five [cases] related to an event or a facility, we will be releasing that in our press release,” she said.

The Norton County health department Monday confirmed that a COVID outbreak at Andbe Home in Norton had sickened all 62 residents and some staff members. Ten residents had died. All residents were quarantined to their rooms, and one person was hospitalized.

Serene predicts cases will continue to rise in the county.

“I think people have been lax, and it’s important coming into the flu season, they should stay home when they are ill,” she said.

She also said people traveling to family gatherings during the holiday season might see COVID spreading among them.

As of Wednesday, KDHE has added North Dakota to the state’s travel quarantine list. Anyone who travels to or from that state must quarantine for 14 days.

Last modified Oct. 21, 2020

 

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