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Reno County’s new public-health order limits mass gatherings to 100 people

Published: Oct. 13, 2020 at 4:00 PM CDT
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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KWCH) - In hopes of slowing down the spread of COVID-19, Reno County is implementing a new public health order starting Wednesday (Oct. 14, 2020). The order will limit mass gatherings to a maximum of 100 people.

The most recent data from Reno County shows the 14-day percent-positive test rate at 16.7 percent, 10 percent higher than one month ago. Health officials in the county say sitting by and hoping the situation gets better is not an option.

Reno County Interim Health Director Karen Hammersmith said part of the problem, she thinks, is that people in Reno County have COVID fatigue.

“People are tired of hearing about COVID. We want our normal lives back,” she said.

In the last 14 days, there are nearly 220 new positive cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Reno County.

“We have 10 clusters going on in Reno County, unfortunately, which then makes your numbers spike very quickly,” Hammersmith said.

Part of the reason for the new public health order in Reno County limiting most mass gatherings to less than 100 people is that the increase is starting to strain resources at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center.

“Our patients are coming in a lot sicker and our numbers have gone up, both in the ICU, as well as our COVID ward,” Hutchinson Regional Health System Vice President Chuck Welch said.

While Hutchinson Regional Medical Center said it is nowhere near capacity at this point, the biggest issue is staffing.

“Our team is extraordinary, but they’re getting tired,” Welch said. “COVID patients are interesting in that they are incredibly high maintenance.”

The running count in Reno County is nearly 1,500 cases since the pandemic started. The Hutchinson Regional Medical Center is also considering increased restrictions for visitors, Welch said. The main requests for the hospital and the Reno County Health Department are for people in the community to wear masks, socially distance, and wash their hands frequently.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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