Health officer says county in good shape

John Richmeier

The Leavenworth County health officer said the county is in good shape at the moment in terms of its COVID-19 numbers. But the numbers need to continue to improve.

Jamie Miller, who is the director of the Leavenworth County Health Department, said the county has one of the lowest positive test rates in the Kansas City metropolitan area. He said Leavenworth County’s positivity rate as of Wednesday was 7.87%.

“We like our numbers right at the moment,” Miller said. “We need those numbers to continue going down.”

Miller spoke Thursday during a virtual town hall meeting hosted by Leavenworth Mayor Mike Griswold. The town hall meeting could be viewed live on the city of Leavenworth’s Facebook page. And a recording of the event can be found on the city’s Facebook page.

Miller said there was a little concern as people head into Labor Day weekend.

He said Leavenworth County experienced an elevation in its caseload after the Fourth of July weekend. He said many of those cases were traced back to parties and other gatherings.

“We just want to make sure that everyone is mindful of their personal responsibility in this,” Miller said.

He said people have a responsibility to help slow the spread, which they can do by maintaining social distancing of at least 6 feet, practicing good hygiene and wearing masks.

“We want to keep our schools open,” he said. “We want to keep the economy going.”

Miller applauded Leavenworth County residents. He said many more people are wearing masks as they go to the store.

Despite recent changes in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health officers in the Kansas City metropolitan area have not changed their testing practices. Miller said people are being tested, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms, if they have had contact with someone who is known to have the virus.

He said investigation of positive tests is one of the main tools available for slowing the spread of the virus.

“So we have to test to get those positive cases,” he said.

He said people who test positive are isolated, and health officials conduct contact tracing.

Miller said about 25% of the COVID-19 tests in Leavenworth County are handled through private labs. The majority of tests are performed through the Leavenworth County Health Department.

Miller said there have been questions about whether people who are tested multiple times end up being counted more than once in the total number of positive results. He said a person is not double counted for positive test results.

“They’re only counted once as a positive,” he said.

Miller said the county’s COVID-19 numbers are vetted. He said this is why a case sometimes is initially counted in Leavenworth County but ends up being shifted to another county after it is determined the person involved does not live in the county.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR