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Atchison County is engaging Phase 3.5 of its opening plan, effective at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, June 24 until one minute before midnight Tuesday, July 7.

The new phase is in keeping within Governor Laura Kelly’s order to remain in Phase 3 of the statewide Ad Astra for another two weeks due to a spike of positive COVID-19 cases attributed to community spread, Atchison County health officials told county commissioners on Tuesday.

County Health Officer Lori Forge, RN told commissioners there were 400 new cases and five deaths in Kansas associated with the pandemic throughout this past weekend. She attributed them all to community spread and not to any particular cluster.

Emergency Management Director Wesley Lanter reported on June 22 that Atchison County has confirmed its 28th positive case of COVID-19. The infected person is a male in 20s and is isolating at home. The case marks the fifth positive case attributed to community spread. However, because the source of exposure is unknown, the county health department staff members are monitoring 70 persons listed as known contacts of an infected individual.

“We are trying to stay on top of it,” Forge said. “Hopefully this too will pass.”

Forge recommends persons to remain careful for health and safety purposes. Social distance 6-feet apart, wear facial mask/coverings, frequent handwashing and no facial touching unless the hands have just been washed seconds earlier. Forge urges all who are considered to be in a higher risk category to be really cautious, and for those who are not, she urges to look out for the people who are.

The 45-person limit remains in place for mass gatherings.

The statistics posted for Atchison County as of late afternoon June 22 indicate there have been 788 negative test results and of the 28 positive cases 24 of these persons have been released from isolation.

No persons aged 9 years old and younger, and persons in the 80 to 89 age bracket have not been diagnosed with the virus throughout the county. The 20- to 29-year-old age group show seven cases; persons in their 40s have six cases; there have been five positive cases affecting persons in their 50s. The thirtysomething and 60s age groups each number four positive case and only one case each for the 10-to 19-year-old and 70s age groups.

Commissioners agreed to delay a full opening of the courthouse for a while longer as well as their meetings in person.

Community spread is something to take very seriously, said Chairman Jack Bower.

Mary Meyers can be reached via mary.meyers@atchisonglobenow.com. Follow her on Twitter:@MARYMEYERSglobe

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