When it comes to the coronavirus, Clay County is fairing pretty well compared to the rest of the state

About one out of 10 people in the state who are tested for the coronavirus come back positive, Clay County Health Administrator Dana Rickley said in a “Clay Center Now!” interview on Eagle Television on Friday.

Clay County has one of the highest testing rates per capita in the state, and as of Friday, there were only 10 case of coronavirus in the entire north-central Kansas region. Most cases are in the northeast and south central parts of the state (Kansas City and Wichita metro areas).

The one case in Clay County was travel-related, testing positive after they came back to the county on March 15. They completed the 14-day quarantine on March 29. People that person was in close contact were monitored, including checking temperatures daily, and none tested positive or had symptoms, Rickley said.

That includes anyone they’ve been in close contact with for more than 10 minutes. The Health Department has a list of questions they ask people to help determine whether people have been in contact need to be quarantined.

 Symptoms they look for include a fever, shortness of breath and a cough. Once exhibiting systems, people in quarantine need to remain in isolation for another seven days or 72 hours fever-free. Generally speaking, people aren’t tested specifically for coronavirus unless they are sick enough to be hospitalized, Rickley said.

Unless you’re traveling to a high-risk area or have been in contact with someone who is infected, most likely the coronavirus-like symptoms you’re experiencing are just seasonal allergies, as it is also a peak period for that, Rickley said.

If you think you’re sick or are exhibiting the symptoms, Kemp and Rickley advised calling your primary physician and asking them what they want you to do.

Stay at home

Right now, the state expects the number of coronavirus cases to double every three or four days, Clay County Emergency Preparedness Manager Pam Kemp said. The rate of new cases is expected to peak in late April, so it’s likely the stay-at-home order that expires on April 19 will be extended.

“It’s going take just as long to get that disease on the downslide as it did to get up to that peak,” Kemp said. “So when we reach the peak, whenever it is,  we’re going to have another period of time making sure we’re in the safe zone before we really start wanting people to move around in the community.”

The stay-at-home order also helps protect the health system from becoming overflowed with too many cases, Rickley said.

Unless you’re shopping for groceries or other essential items, you probably shouldn’t be out in the public where you’d come in contact with non-household members, because that’s how the coronavirus is spread, Kemp said. Only one member of the household should go shopping, and you should limit your time out as much as possible.

“What we’re asking people to do, is just stay away from other people, unless you have to perform an essential task or make a purchase,” Kemp said.

If you are someone who falls in the category of people who would be vulnerable to the coronavirus (60 or older or with an underlying health condition), you can also sign up through the Chamber website for a volunteer to assist with running errands or doing your shopping.

Chamber director Shannon Stark says you don’t have to meet those conditions to benefit from the service. If you’re a single parent with four kids who can’t leave your kids at home alone, they’d like to help you too, because that’s better than having everyone go to the grocery store.

Currently, there are no restrictions for traveling with the state, but if they are coming from a community or state where there has been community spread, those people are asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days. That includes turkey hunters. You can see a list on the KDHE’s website.

As far as traveling out-of-state, check those states for their rules, and be flexible. Kemp and Rickley said you probably should cancel any plans to travel outside the state within the next month or two.

Tips to remember

Rickley and Kemp  advise residents to remember these tips:

• Stay home if you can as much as you can.

• Wash your hands frequently.

• Clean and sanitize  high-contact areas

• After you’ve been out the public, wash your hands and change your clothes..

• If you’re sick, stay home

For more information, visit  kdheks.gov and click on “COVID-19 Resource Center” covid19@claycountykansas.org

This article was based on a ‘Clay Center Now!’ interview on Eagle Television. You can view more of the video on Eagle Communications and the Chamber’s Facebook page.