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National Guard assisting northwest Kansans with COVID testing

Sherman County now does drive-thru COVID testing at the health department, and the National Guard has been called in to help due to staffing issues.
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 5:55 PM CST
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GOODLAND, Kan. (KWCH) - Sherman County in northwest Kansas now does drive-thru COVID testing at the health department. But due to staffing issues, common with rural counties across the state, the National Guard has been called in to help with testing. All you have to do is drive up to the garage, drive in, and the testing is done within minutes.

Sherman County Emergency Manager Ryan Murray said Goodland Medical Center has been doing all of the county’s COVID testing, but became overwhelmed. So, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has assigned the Kansas Army National Guard to assist. The National Guard has previously assisted counties across the state at times when cases were surging. The Sherman County Health Department says the National Guard is assisting with testing at its location at 1622 Broadway Avenue, in Goodland.

In the community, Goodland resident Allan Langness said he appreciates the National Guard’s support.

“This pandemic thing is getting really out of hand. It’s just too much,” he said. “And to have some guys like the National Guard come in, we know we can... we respect those guys. So, if they’re coming into to help us, we’re going to see something happen,” he said.

The Sherman County Health Department reports 1,345 total confirmed COVID-19 cases. That total only includes 30 active cases with more than 1,200 recovered, but the demand for testing has surged with a nationwide rise in cases with the omicron variant.

“To me, if we’re short of workers to do that testing, I think that’s a good idea,” Goodland resident Jackie Elliott said of the National Guard’s presence in Sherman County.

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