Health officials continue to advise against shutting down businesses

Jonathan Riley
Crawford County deputy public health officer Dr. Linda Bean has advised county commissioners to not close businesses or restrict public movement, even though positive tests for coronavirus continue to rise in the county.

GIRARD — Although the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Crawford County has spiked dramatically since hundreds of employees of the SugarCreek bacon packing plant in Frontenac were recently tested, county officials are still not recommending a public health order that would close businesses or restrict public gatherings.

The county’s new deputy public health officer Dr. Linda Bean, who was appointed last Friday along with Dr. Timothy Stebbins as the new public health officer, said that as of Monday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment was reporting 192 coronavirus cases in Crawford County.

“Because testing is ongoing, at Community Health [Center of Southeast Kansas] we have had 350 positive cases since the 4th of June, which is when the positive cases really started showing up in Crawford County again,” she said. “This is not 100 percent Crawford County, and not even all of the surrounding communities, but the majority of them are, and the vast majority are people that work or live in Crawford County, so even though a lot of those numbers don’t count towards the Crawford County numbers, they are people that work here and come here regularly.”

Bean said area hospitals have been able to handle COVID-19 patients, most of whom have not required hospitalization.

“We’ve seen maybe up to five or six at Via Christi, but not significantly more than that, and Girard has typically had one or two and they don’t have any currently,” she said.

Bean said despite the significant increase in confirmed coronavirus cases, the county is still not meeting criteria for needing to issue a new public health order that would close businesses.