Public Health Announcement Released April 20, 2020
Dear Hodgeman County Residents:
Thank you for all you have done during this difficult time to prevent spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in our community. All of your sacrifices have protected our community, and as of this writing there are no known cases in our community. COVID-19 is spreading across Kansas with cases in Finney County doubling as of this morning. As of this writing, there are 747 cases in Kansas with 183 hospitalizations and 22 deaths. Secretary Norman expects cases to double over the next few days. Current national projections for peak and lack of resources are dire. Our county being directly affected will be just a matter of time. More information about Kansas may be found at the COVID-19 resource center at www.kdhe.gov which also has a map of COVID-19 in Kansas.Dear Residents of Hodgeman County:
At the time of this writing, there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Hodgeman County. Ford County, however, has the highest number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus per capita in Kansas. As of yesterday morning, the number of confirmed cases in Ford County was 127. Although this number may seem low, it is only the tip of the iceberg for the actual number of cases in the community. A significant proportion of the population in Ford County are likely infected with Coronavirus. Using the Stanford model, a conservative estimate is that almost 25% of the population of Ford County has been infected with Coronavirus. Actual prevalence of infection is higher than the reported confirmed case numbers due to several factors including:
1) under testing due to lack of supplies of swabs and reagents and 2) although Coronavirus has a high fatality and hospitalization rate, most people infected are asymptomatic. When the government in Wuhan started testing everyone for Coronavirus, the asymptomatic carrier rate was as high as 60-80%. Stanford released preliminary results last Friday which reveal the true prevalence of infection may be as high as 50-85 times the number of confirmed cases.
Dr. Trotter, Public Health Officer for Ford County, and I have been in close communication. The economies of Hodgeman and Ford counties are intertwined. Many people live in one county and work or have a spouse who works in the other. Public Health Officers may place individuals in quarantine (a person with no symptoms but has had contact with someone with Coronavirus) or isolation (a person suspected or confirmed case of Coronavirus); however, we do not have authority to close the borders of our county.
In Ford County, measures have been taken to increase testing capacity:
1) Established patients of Dr. Trotter, may call his office: Family Practice Associates of Western Kansas at 620-225-1650 to schedule an appointment for the COVID clinic he is running out of the clinic’s parking lot. These tests are sent out with a several days turnaround time.
2) WPMC 620-225-8400 has set up a COVID triage area in their ambulance bay to test patients. Patients must call ahead prior to being seen unless they are seeking emergency care. These tests are sent out with a several days turnaround time.
3) The ABBOTT point of care testing (test results in 15 minutes) will currently only be available at the WPMC hospital to help physicians make medical decisions concerning moderately or severely ill patients. This is due to limited reagent supply.
In Hodgeman County additional measures have been taken to protect us including:
1) Hodgeman County employees wear masks and change into clean scrubs and shoes upon arrival to work.
2) Health Department employees wear masks.
3) Employees at essential businesses such as Jetmore Food Center and Hodgeman County Pharmacy wear masks, wipe surfaces with disinfectant frequently and have hand sanitizer available.
Strong recommendations for residents of Hodgeman County include:
1) Shop local: the trip to Dodge City or Garden City to shop is not worth the risk.
2) Avoid any nonessential travel outside of Hodgeman County.
3) Wear a mask (cloth or surgical) while in public.
4) Respect the Governor’s Stay at Home order.
5) Maintain Social Distancing.
6) Persons over the age of 60 or with chronic medical conditions should stay at home.
7) Wipe high contact surfaces frequently with disinfectant
8) Wash your hands thoroughly, especially upon arrival home or at your place of work.
9) Protect the health of others by following quarantine or isolation recommendations for their full duration.
If you are not seeking immediate emergency care, but think you may have Coronavirus or have been exposed to it, please call ahead to our County’s healthcare providers so that we may be prepared for your arrival:
- Hodgeman County Health Department: 620-357-8736
- O’Shea Memorial Clinic: 620-357-8354
- Hodgeman County Health Center: 620-357-8361
Please visit www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov to follow daily updates on Coronavirus in Kansas. The link to Confirmed Cases lists cases by county. The link to the Map of COVID-19 shows a map as well as other data.
I appreciate all the efforts that Hodgeman County residents took early to mitigate and suppress the threat of this Coronavirus Pandemic. I realize that the reality is now upon us at a time that we may be worn down from the drastic measures we have taken for so long. I encourage us to persevere. Together, we will get through this.
Thank you and stay well,
Kristie Clark MD
Hodgeman County Health Officer